A slew of additional charges against a man accused of first-degree murder have been adjourned while his lawyer takes medical leave.
Mark William Bitterman, 35, was one of three people arrested in Kamloops, B.C., on June 14, 2013, by police investigating an escort scam in Red Deer.
Police allege that potential clients were lured online and then beaten and robbed by the people offering the services.
Bitterman is facing a wide range of charges in connection with the alleged scam, including extortion, unlawful confinement, assault and robbery.
Represented by defence counsel Kim Ross of Calgary, Bitterman was to enter his pleas on those charges in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.
However, the pleas were adjourned until June 17 to accommodate his lawyer’s medical issue.
Bitterman is also charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Red Deer resident Curtis Leroy Rangen, whose body was found in the freezer of his apartment on May 3, 2013.
Bitterman has asked that the matter be handled in the Court of Queen’s Bench, with a preliminary hearing beforehand to test the Crown’s case against him.
The preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 5 to 8, 2015, in Red Deer provincial court.