June 18th, 2024

Murder case adjourned

By Delon Shurtz on July 10, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A one-year-old murder case was back in Lethbridge provincial court Friday, but simply adjourned to allow defence more time to review disclosure.
An agent for Lethbridge lawyer James Rouleau requested the adjournment, and told court there is a “substantial” amount of disclosure to review. He also said an expert for the defence needs time to review the coroner’s report before defence will be ready to take a step.
Meanwhile, the Crown is anxious to move forward, and said it is waiting for defence to decide how it wants the accused, 37-year-old Melissa Dumaine Whitegrass, to be tried; with or without a jury in Court of Queen’s Bench, and with or without a preliminary inquiry. 
Whitegrass, who was denied bail in April, was charged March 2, 2020 with first-degree murder, dangerous driving causing death, and assault with a weapon.
At about 4 p.m. on June 1, 2020, police responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian - Whitegrass’s former spouse - in the west alley of the 900 block of 13 Street South. Thirty-year-old Austin James Forsyth was rushed to Chinook Regional Hospital where he later died.
Police said a woman struck Forsyth with her vehicle while he and another person walked in the alley. The other person walking with Forsyth was nearly struck, as well. The passenger fled the scene, but the driver remained behind and claimed the collision was accidental.
Police said evidence collected at the scene and during an extensive investigation in the following months, led them to believe the incident was intentional.
Whitegrass, a decorated war veteran who was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2010, remains in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre and was not required to appear in court Friday. Her next hearing is scheduled for July 30.

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