Man admits he killed central Alberta woman during cocaine argument

A man accused of first-degree murder in the death of a central Alberta woman found dumped near a road has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

RED DEER — A man accused of first-degree murder in the death of a central Alberta woman found dumped near a road has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Bashir Gaashaan, who is 33, admitted to second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body at the start of what was supposed to be a three-week trial.

Court heard Gaashaan and Jenna Cartwright of Red Deer were hanging out and doing cocaine on March 30, 2011, when he suspected she may have stolen or hidden some of the drug from him.

The two struggled and Gaashaan strangled Cartwright with his hands before gagging her with a cloth.

Court was told Gaashaan panicked, bound Cartwright’s hands behind her back and wrapped her partially clothed body in a blanket before dumping her in a rural area near Olds, Alta.

Her remains were found about a month later and Gaashaan was arrested in Thunder Bay, Ont., in June 2011.

Court is to hear victim impact statements from family members before Gaashaan is sentenced.

Second-degree murder convictions carry an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.