First-degree murder charge delayed until July

Court proceedings against a man charged with first-degree murder and numerous other offences have been adjourned for almost a month to give him time to find a lawyer.

Court proceedings against a man charged with first-degree murder and numerous other offences have been adjourned for almost a month to give him time to find a lawyer.

Mark William Bitterman, 33, was arrested with two other people in Kamloops, B.C., on June 13 on charges including kidnapping, extortion, assault and weapons offences arising from an alleged escort services scam in Red Deer.

Also accused in the alleged escort services scam are Red Deer resident Lindsey Rae Mazzei, 30, and Florian Edward Poitra, 31, of no fixed address.

Bitterman is also accused of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Curtis Leroy Rangen, 43, whose body was found in a freezer inside his apartment at Potter’s Hands in Red Deer on May 3. Police allege that Rangen was killed during a break-in at his home.

Now in custody at the Red Deer Remand Centre, Bitterman made his first appearance in Red Deer provincial court on Friday. Police say the first-degree murder charge is unrelated to the escort service charges.

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider advised the court that he has a considerable volume of information ready and more to come for whoever is either appointed or retained for Bitterman’s defence.

Judge Bart Rosborough ordered that proceedings against the accused man be adjourned until July 19. The unusually long adjournment was offered to allow time for defence counsel to review the disclosure, which is a detailed description of the Crown’s evidence.

Mazzei and Poitra made their first court appearance on Thursday and are due back in court on July 3.