Murder suspect makes brief court appearance

A man charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of man in a Red Deer Potter’s Hands apartment made a brief court appearance on Tuesday.

A man charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of man in a Red Deer Potter’s Hands apartment made a brief court appearance on Tuesday.

Mark William Bitterman, 31, appeared on a closed-circuit TV link from the Red Deer Remand Centre.

Duty counsel Murray Shack said Bitterman had only recently lined up a lawyer and asked the case be adjourned for a week. Bitterman returns to Red Deer provincial court on Aug. 6.

Bitterman is accused of killing Curtis Leroy Rangen, 43, whose body was found on May 3 in a chest freezer inside his apartment. Police allege Rangen was killed during a break-in at his home.

In a separate case, Bitterman, and two others, are also facing numerous charges in connection with an alleged escort services scam in Red Deer. Charges include kidnapping, extortion, assault and weapons offences.

Red Deer City RCMP started the investigation after two reports of robberies that originated from male victims using the Internet for escort services last month.

According to police, in both instances the males contacted a female from these websites and set up a location and time to meet with them.

Once the man arrived at the meeting place, two male suspects brandishing a knife or firearm would steal money, credit cards and in one instance a vehicle from the victim.

Police said during one of those robberies the male was held against his will for an extended period of time before escaping capture and contacting police.

Lindsey Rae Mazzei, 30, of Red Deer, Florian Edward Poitra, 31, of no fixed address, have also been charged.