By Delon Shurtz on June 22, 2021.
A 28-year-old man accused of killing another man just over a year ago, has been ordered to stand trial on one count of manslaughter.
Jason James Crane Chief was originally charged with second-degree murder, and scheduled to have a four-day preliminary inquiry. Although the hearing began Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, it concluded before noon after hearing evidence from only two Crown witnesses, and after defence consented to have Crane Chief committed to stand trial on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The matter is scheduled to return for arraignment in Court of Queen’s Bench July 19, ostensibly to set a date for trial.
Crane Chief was charged with second-degree murder and arrested in May 2020, four days after Mark Joel Moore, 43, was found dead in his apartment.
Although evidence from Monday’s preliminary hearing cannot be published, police reported that an injured man was found dead April 27 in his apartment in the 1200 block of 4 Avenue South. During the previous evening the victim had been inside his apartment socializing with acquaintances when a fight broke out. When a friend arrived at the victim’s apartment the following day the man was unresponsive and his friend called for help.
Police confirmed a weapon was used during the fight and drugs were being consumed at the social gathering.
Crane Chief was arrested May 1, and co-accused Justin Robert White Cow, 34, was arrested on May 5.
Both men previously elected to be tried by a judge and jury, but White Cow pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Court was told during his sentencing that White Cow and several other guests who were partying and drinking at Moore’s home developed some animosity toward their host and began to argue with him. White Cow and at least one other person punched Moore and then White Cow pushed him from behind, causing Moore to strike his head near a window. White Cow kicked Moore and punched him in the face, and he and at least one other assailant struck him with wooden chairs.
There were dozens of cuts and abrasions to Moore’s face and body. His nose was broken and there was swelling to his brain. His death was the result of multiple blunt force injuries caused during the assault.
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