Kent County murder case to proceed to judge and jury trial

·1 min read

A man accused of killing Elias Bastarache earlier this year now faces a second-degree murder charge.

Marcel Roger Savoie of Saint-Édouard-de-Kent initially was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Bastarache, 67, in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent on Feb. 20.

Savoie appeared in court in Moncton for a preliminary hearing Thursday morning scheduled to last two days. The hearing tests the strength of the Crown's case to decide whether it can proceed to trial.

However, Crown prosecutor Melanie Poirier-LeBlanc told Provincial court Judge Lucie Mathurin that the charge was being reduced to second-degree murder.

First–degree murder is a homicide that's planned and deliberate. Second–degree is a homicide that occurs without planning.

Poirier-LeBlanc also told the judge that the Crown had agreed with Savoie's lawyers that the case will proceed to a judge and jury trial in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Mathurin imposed a publication ban on the evidence presented during the hearing, which lasted less than an hour.

New Brunswick RCMP said Bastarache was found dead at a home on Route 515 on Feb. 21 around 4 p.m.

Police executed a search warrant at a home in Saint-Édouard-de-Kent and Savoie was later arrested in the nearby community of Dixon Point, an RCMP spokesperson said at the time.

Savoie remains in custody. No trial date has been set.