Travis Vader was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

High court to decide if it will hear Alberta man’s appeal in seniors slayings

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is to release a decision today on whether it will hear an appeal from an Alberta man convicted of killing two seniors who disappeared on a camping trip.

Travis Vader was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann.

The couple, in their 70s, vanished after leaving their home in St. Albert, a bedroom community north of Edmonton, in July 2010.

Their burned-out motorhome and a vehicle they had been towing were discovered days later west of the city, but their bodies have never been found.

A trial judge determined Vader was a desperate drug addict who came across the McCanns and killed them during a robbery.

Justice Denny Thomas convicted Vader in 2016 of second-degree murder, but later substituted the verdict with manslaughter, because he had mistakenly used an outdated section of the Criminal Code.

Lawyers for Vader asked the Alberta Court of Appeal for a new trial or for his manslaughter charges to be stayed because of the judge’s mistake.

They also argued that the RCMP was negligent in handling disclosure at trial, which added two years of delay. The Crown told court there were exceptional circumstances that justified the time it took to complete the trial.

The Appeal Court unanimously dismissed the appeal in May.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 5, 2019.

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