September 20th, 2021

Woman charged in murder expected to make election


By Lethbridge Herald on July 31, 2021.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com
A woman charged with first degree murder of her former spouse by allegedly using a motor vehicle to intentionally run him down is expected to elect how she wants to proceed with her trial.
Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford requested an adjournment in Lethbridge provincial court on Friday until Aug. 20 to allow further review of the file as he has just taken over the case at the request of his partner James Rouleau, who is away dealing with urgent family matters.
He told the court he expected to make an election on whether his client, Melissa Dumaine Whitegrass, 37, will opt to be tried with or without a jury in the 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.
-With files from Delon Shurtz
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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