Drug addict jailed for killing

A Red Deer drug addict who strangled a Potter’s Hands resident to death in 2013 has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

A Red Deer drug addict who strangled a Potter’s Hands resident to death in 2013 has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

“It’s difficult to imagine a more serious offence,” said Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast while sentencing Mark William Bitterman on Monday.

Bitterman admitted to strangling Curtis Leroy Rangen, 43, in his Potter’s Hands apartment in Riverside Meadows in late April or early May 2013. Bitterman had gone to Rangen’s apartment to steal his TV to sell to settle a drug debt with someone else, said Crown prosecutor Ed Ring.

When Rangen resisted, he was strangled, bound with a belt and nylon cords and left in a bathtub. Bitterman returned to the apartment a short time later and found Rangen dead.

He stripped and washed Rangen’s body and stuffed him into a deep freezer.

It was the second time Bitterman had targeted Rangen, who suffered from mental illness and was not associated with his attacker in any way. Bitterman stole Rangen’s wallet and keys in a previous confrontation but was stopped from taking the TV.

Rangen’s care givers became concerned when they didn’t hear from him for several days. They notified his father, and mental health workers joined him at his son’s apartment, where the body was found on May 3.

Bitterman was arrested on June 13, 2013 in Kamloops, B.C. as part of another investigation.

Initially charged with first-degree murder, the charge was changed to second-degree murder during Bitterman’s preliminary hearing.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month, shortly before his trial was to begin.

Before the judge rendered her decision, Bitterman expressed his remorse.

“I know that I’m sorry. There’s no amount of words that I can say that can bring back anything that I’ve done.”

Defence lawyer Kim Ross told the judge of Stettler-born Bitterman’s troubled upbringing. He and a younger brother, who were both physically abused, were taken from their parents by social services when the boys were young.

Mark was adopted at age eight, but when his adopted father died a year later, he was taken to the U.S. by his mother. Mother and son moved frequently and social services was again involved. Bitterman was abusing drugs by the age of 10 or 11.

Convicted of robbery as an 18-year-old, Bitterman was deported to Canada. For the next 12 years, he drifted around homeless and drug addicted while racking up 35 criminal convictions and supporting himself mostly through crime.

In 2005, he was convicted of kidnapping and aggravated assault and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

As part of his latest sentence, the judge imposed a lifetime weapons prohibition and ordered Bitterman to provide a sample of his DNA to a national database.

He was given credit for 53 months and 20 days in pre-trial custody, based on a formula of 1.5 days per day served.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has been climbing up since Jan. 20 at Red Deer's Olymel meat processing plant. (File photo by Advocate Staff)
Some Olymel workers return for training, plant reopening date not set

Union calls for delay of opening as workers fear for safety

Activists against open-pit coal mining in the Rocky Mountains hung a protest banner outside Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s Rocky Mountain House constituency office. Exploratory coal leases in the Nordegg area were recently granted by Nixon’s UCP government, and many local residents say they feel betrayed, as they had been promised eco-tourism opportunities by Clearwater County. (Contributed photo).
Anti-coal mining activists post banner on Environment Minister’s Rocky constituency office

Activists call for clean water protection, ban on strip mining

Justice Anne Molloy, from top left, John Rinaldi, Dr. Scott Woodside and accused Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference in this courtroom sketch on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Verdict expected today in Toronto van attack trial

Alek Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018

(Image from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer students enter Skills competition

Regional competition begins this month

UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)
MLA Ron Orr: Benchmarks were achieved but goalposts were moved

Orr responds to concerns, calls on province to fully open Step 2

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors ceremony as part of Super Bowl 55 Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Annual NFL women’s forum enhancing career opportunities

When Sam Rapoport envisioned conducting virtually the NFL’s fifth annual Women’s Career… Continue reading

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), speaks during a news conference with Toshiro Muto, left, CEO of Tokyo 2020, after a council meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP)
Fans from abroad unlikely for postponed Tokyo Olympics

Olympics scheduled to open on July 23

FILE - Singer Jhene Aiko poses for a portrait on Dec. 7, 2020, in Los Angeles. Aiko will host the 63rd GRAMMY Awards on March 14. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jhene Aiko to host Grammy Award premiere ceremony

63rd annual Grammy ceremony set for March 14

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa on November 3, 2020. The Heritage Department is committing $40 million to a “COVID-safe events fund” designed to encourage arts and cultural plans to move forward in the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Heritage minister unveils COVID-19 events fund for arts and cultural sector

Financial support tops out at $100,000 per eligible applicant

opinion
Opinion: Crisis in long-term care must include data-driven change

More than 19,000 people in Canada have died from COVID-19 – more… Continue reading

The Dawe family home in the Michener Hill subdivision in Red Deer. This house was designed and built by Robert G. Dawe, a local engineer, in 1911 and has remained in the family ever since. (Contributed photo)
Michael Dawe: 65 years of Red Deer history

As a major milestone birthday looms, I thought that it might be… Continue reading

Most Read