Psychiatric evaluation delays first-degree murder trial

Concerns over the mental state of a man convicted of first-degree murder delayed the start of his second trial for the gangland style killing of Brandon Neil Prevey.

Concerns over the mental state of a man convicted of first-degree murder delayed the start of his second trial for the gangland style killing of Brandon Neil Prevey.

Christopher Martin Fleig, 31, was convicted in 2012 of the April 2009 drive-by shooting death of Prevey, 29, in Inglewood in Red Deer. Though Fleig did not actually shoot Prevey, the Crown believed he had orchestrated the killing.

The Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial on March 10, 2014, but did not overturn the conviction.

Fleig’s second trial started Monday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s bench before Justice Larry Ackerl of Edmonton.

Defence counsel Allan Fay began the trial by requesting an adjournment for a mental fitness evaluation for Fleig. Faye said he had concerns about the mental state of Fleig, citing his bipolar disorder and a recent refusal to take medication while being held at the Red Deer Remand Centre ahead of the trial.

Fleig, wearing blue prisoner coveralls, was handcuffed in the prisoner box where he alternated between standing and sitting regularly.

Faye told Ackerl he had visited Fleig over the Thanksgiving long weekend at the Edmonton Institution maximum security facility, and said he was lucid. But an attempt to visit Fleig at the prison this past weekend before the start of trial was thwarted by a lockdown. He later learned that Fleig was not taking his medication.

Faye said he had concerns about Fleig’s mental fitness and was worried about his client’s ability to instruct counsel during the trial.

Faye requested an adjournment so Fleig could be examined as soon as possible. The quickest method was to adjourn the trial to Friday in Calgary court where a forensic psychologist would examine Fleig. From there the parties would reconvene on Nov. 16 in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench. If Fleig was determined to be fit for trial, the trial would proceed. If he was not, then a two to three week assessment could be ordered, further delaying the trial.

Crown Prosecutor Raj Dhillon agreed with Fay’s recommendation and request for a psychiatric evaluation. Dhillon provided the court with a schedule of witnesses and how they expect the trial to proceed. The trial was scheduled to run from Monday to Dec. 22.

However, Dhillon said due to conversations between Crown and defence they expect the trial to take much less time than was allotted.

Ackerl granted the adjournment.

Fleig was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison by Justice Kirk Sisson on May 30, 2012.

Prevey was parked in a car on Ibbitson Close when another vehicle pulled up to the vehicle. A total of 15 shots were fired from a Glock handgun, seven hitting Prevey. The autopsy said three shots were fatal. The Crown said Prevey and Fleig were rival drug dealers.

According to the Crown, Fleig had recruited another person to perform the murder, provided the murder weapon, directed the shooter to Prevey’s car, gave the order to shoot through a walkie-talkie, assisted in the disposal of the murder weapon and drove to Calgary with the shooter after the incident.

Police recovered the Glock on June 23, 2009 from a vacant lot. Fleig became a person of interest in the police investigation after being interviewed on Oct. 6, 2009. He was charged on March 29, 2010.

Fleig also pleaded guilty to three counts of perjury in 2012 for contradictory evidence he gave at the first trial and at the preliminary hearing for three other men charged in the incident. He was sentenced to four years in custody.