Emotions ran high during the first day of a preliminary hearing for a Red Deer man accused of killing a Calgary mother and then dumping her body in a trash bin.
Talia Meguinis, 27, died during a visit to Red Deer in late February of 2012.
Her body was found on Feb. 22 in a bin of recyclables that had been unloaded that day at a city recycling depot.
Nathan Michael Desharnais, now 25, was arrested seven months later, on Sept. 14, on charges including second-degree murder and interfering with human remains.
Represented by Edmonton defence counsel Arnold Piragoff, Desharnais later pleaded not guilty and asked to be tried by judge alone in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
Piragoff asked for a preliminary hearing to test the strength of the Crown’s case.
The hearing opened in Red Deer provincial court on Monday morning, before Judge John Holmes and with Crown prosecutors Jason Snider and Maurice Collard calling their first witness.
A few minutes into her testimony, the woman became overwhelmed with emotion, broke into tears and fled from the courtroom. She was given a few minutes to recover her composure before returning to the witness box.
Details of her testimony and other evidence introduced during the preliminary hearing cannot be made public because of a court-imposed ban.
The preliminary hearing resumes on Wednesday and is expected to wrap up on Thursday.
Meguinis is survived by her three sons and a large circle of family and friends, including a handful of people who came up from Calgary for the hearing on Monday.