Accused headed straight to trial

One of the three men accused in a February home invasion in Red Deer will head straight to trial on those charges, as soon as a court day can be found.

One of the three men accused in a February home invasion in Red Deer will head straight to trial on those charges, as soon as a court day can be found.

Michael Wade Lawrence, 39, of Red Deer will stand trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before a judge alone. His counsel Michael Scrase indicated they would waive the preliminary inquiry and head straight to trial over the Feb. 17 incident.

Because he waived his preliminary inquiry, Lawrence goes straight to arraignments in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 8 with the hope of setting a trial day. Scrase said he would endeavour to find some time for the trial before the arraignment date.

Lawrence faces charges of assault with a weapon, attempted robbery, forcible confinement, uttering threats, break and enter to commit assault, personating a police officer and conspiracy to commit a serious offence.

The charges stem from an early-morning incident where police were called to a residence in Riverside Meadows by the basement tenant who heard sounds of a scuffle on the main floor.

Police said a man hired two others, with the promise they could steal drugs or the money to drugs, to go to the house and beat up the male occupant as punishment for assaulting a woman.

The three alleged gained entry to the house by claiming they were police officers and bound the occupant with duct tape and a cloth over his head.

Kyle Brice Connon, 27, of Red Deer pleaded guilty to his role in the incident. He was sentenced to seven years in jail.

A third man, Bradley Amos Erickson, 39, of Red Deer has been released from custody and is awaiting his matters to work their way through the court.

Lawrence also pleaded guilty to other matters, including a breach of probation, earlier this year when he left a treatment centre in B.C. before the completion of his program and did not report to his probation officer.

Then on May 6, he allegedly broke into an Innisfail residence and stole a pickup truck and a jewelry box. He was arrested on May 8 and has been in custody ever since.

Crown prosecutor Ed Ring suggested Judge John Holmes hand Lawrence a three-month sentence for the breach and stolen truck charges, which amounted to time served. Holmes agreed, however Lawrence will remain in custody until his trial.

Lawrence was granted a short leave from custody near the end of July to attend the funeral of his son Christopher Lawrence. Christopher was killed on July 19, just two days shy of his 16th birthday, while working at a gravel-crushing job near Drumheller. According to Occupational Health and Safety, he became entangled in a conveyor and suffered fatal injuries.

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