Accused serial killer Cody Legebokoff will face one trial covering four allegations of first-degree murder in the death of four Prince George area women, the Crown said Wednesday.
And the prosecution against the 21-year-old will proceed by direct indictment, which voids the need for a preliminary hearing in which evidence is presented in provincial court to prove the Crown has a enough material to go to trial.
Until the revised indictment was filed in court last Friday, Mr. Legebokoff was facing court dates dealing with one of the allegations and a separate date to deal with the three others.
Now all four matters will be handled at an Oct. 31st court hearing in Prince George.
Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for the B.C. crown, announced the move in an interview, but declined to get into specifics about the case to explain the decision.
Instead, he referred to the policy manual for B.C. Crown counsel, which lists 14 possible reasons for proceeding by direct indictment.
The crown spokesman noted the effect of the decision will be that the case will come to trial more quickly though no date has yet been set.
James Heller, Mr. Legebokoff’s lawyer, declined comment on the latest development in the matter when contacted on Wednesday.
Mr. Legebokoff was in custody on one murder earlier this month when he was charged with the three additional charges.
The native of Fort St. James near Prince George, was arrested on November 27, 2010 after his vehicle was spotted driving in an erratic manner as it pulled off an unused logging road onto a highway.
Police found the remains of 15-year-old Loren Leslie on the road, and Mr. Legebokoff, who has lived in Prince George in recent years, was charged with first-degree murder.
Earlier this month, RCMP announced Mr. Legebokoff was being charged with three additional counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three other area women since 2009. All three women vanished in the Prince George area over a year.
The three women were Jill Stuchenko and Cynthia Maas, both aged 35, and 23-year-old Natasha Montgomery. Ms. Stuchenko worked for an escort service.
The remains of Ms. Stuchenko and Ms. Maas were, respectively, found in a gravel put and area park frequented by sex-trade workers, but the remains of Ms. Montgomery have yet to be located. However, police have said there is still enough evidence to warrant the charge.