A murder trial for a man accused of killing a woman and then putting her body into a recycling dumpster has been cancelled.
Nathan Michael Desharnais, 26, of Red Deer faces charges of second degree murder and interference with human remains. The trial was scheduled for this week.
The body of Talia Meguinis, 27, was dumped in a recycling bin in Riverside Meadows on Feb. 22, 2012. A recycling truck picked the bin up and transported the body to a Red Deer recycling plant in Riverside Industrial Park. It was there that the body was discovered.
Desharnais’ Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench trial before a judge and jury was to start on Tuesday, but the trial was cancelled abruptly. The trial was to run until Oct. 2.
Some potential jurors only found out the trial had been cancelled on Tuesday morning when they came to the court house and were notified at the front door by signs or by Alberta Sheriffs.
It is unclear why the trial was cancelled, but Desharnais will appear in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench in arraignment court on Sept. 14 to speak to the charges.
A three-day preliminary hearing to test the strength of the Crown’s case, determining if it the matter could proceed to trial, was held on Dec. 16, 18 and 19, 2013. After that, a trial was ordered.
Desharnais was charged with Meguinis’s murder in September 2012, seven months after her body was found.
Meguinis, of Calgary, was the mother of three sons. Police said she arrived in Red Deer on Feb. 17, 2012.
The charges were laid after an extensive investigation that involved the Red Deer RCMP General Investigation Section, Major Crimes Unit, Forensic Identification Unit, Victims Services an the Police Dog Service. The Calgary Major Crimes Unit, K Division Special Tactical Operations, Polygraph Sections in both Calgary and Edmonton, Calgary Police Service and the Tsuu T’ina Police also assisted.
Police believe Meguinis and Desharnais were casual acquaintances who met over a weekend.
Desharnais is serving jail time for a June 2012 sexual assault. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and choking with intent to aid the commission of an indictable offence on June 27, 2014, in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench. Justice Adam Germain sentenced him to six years in custody, with four left to serve because of his pre-sentence custody.