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Travis Vader arrives at court in Edmonton on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. A judge has sentenced Vader to life in prison for killing two Alberta seniors who disappeared on a camping trip.Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press

Lawyers for a man convicted of killing two missing Alberta seniors have filed an appeal.

Travis Vader was sentenced earlier this week to life in prison for manslaughter in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann. The couple, in their late 70s, vanished in July 2010 after leaving their Edmonton-area home to go camping in British Columbia.

A notice of appeal from the defence asks Alberta's top court to set aside the conviction and enter a stay on the charges or an acquittal. If there is to be a new trial, Vader wants his case heard by a jury.

If the conviction stands, Vader wants his "demonstrably unfit" sentence changed, says the notice filed Friday.

The court document lists a dozen grounds for appeal, including the trial judge not ordering a mistrial after initially finding Vader guilty of second-degree murder.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Denny Thomas mistakenly used an outdated section of the Criminal Code and later substituted his verdict with manslaughter.

The appeal notice says Thomas first erred in the case a year ago when he refused to stay the charges because of an unreasonable delay in getting to trial.

The judge then relied on circumstantial evidence and unsavoury Crown witnesses during the trial, the notice claims.

"The learned trial judge erred in law by making findings of fact in both his reasons for conviction and reasons for sentence that were unreasonable and not supportable by the evidence."

The motion further claims the judge failed to find that Vader's rights were violated while he was in custody. Vader testified during his sentencing hearing that guards humiliated him during a strip search and RCMP prevented him from meeting privately with a lawyer.

The defence had asked that Vader receive a stay because of the alleged mistreatment or get more credit for his time behind bars and be released with time served.

Thomas determined at trial that Vader was a desperate drug addict who came across the McCanns and killed them during a robbery west of Edmonton. He then burned their motorhome and disposed of their bodies in the wilderness, the judge said.

The couple's remains have never been found.

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