A court appearance for Marissa Shephard went ahead Tuesday morning despite the fact the Moncton region has returned to the orange phase due to an outbreak of COVID-19
Signs posted on the front door of the courthouse say the court is closed to the general public.
Marissa Shephard entered the courtroom dressed in a dark coloured sweatshirt, wearing a blue disposable mask.
Justice Jean-Paul Ouellette also entered the courtroom wearing a mask, but took it off as he was seated. He told the lawyers they could take their masks off as long as they were staying in one spot and not walking around the courtroom.
Shephard was in court for a pre-trial conference related to her second murder trial for the death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie.
Details about what happened during the hour long proceedings cannot be reported because of a publication ban.
Shephard's second trial on first degree murder is scheduled to take place in August of 2021.
She was found guilty of the killing in May 2018, but the conviction was overturned by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in October last year.
Shephard will also be tried again on an arson charge.
The body of the 18-year-old Wylie was found burned and beaten in a New Brunswick Housing triplex in Moncton in December 2015.
Gilles Lemieux will once again represent Shephard.
In January at another pre-trial hearing, Crown prosecutor Annie St-Jacques estimated the new trial would take about two months, and voir dires, where the admissibility of evidence is discussed, could last nine to 12 weeks.
Judge's charge to jury questioned
During Shephard's first trial, the court heard about a drug-fuelled night of partying that resulted in Wylie being bound to a chair, beaten and stabbed with multiple objects. He suffered more than 140 "sharp-force injuries," a pathologist testified.
The trial lasted more than two months, but the jury took only four hours to return with a guilty verdict.
A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Shephard appealed, and the New Brunswick Court of Appeal delivered a 41–page decision that overturned Shephard's conviction, stating Justice Zoël Dionne "committed various errors of law" in his charge to the jury.
The decision outlined a number of times where Dionne failed to intervene on key points during the trial.
2 others serving time
Two men are already in prison for their role in Wylie's murder.
Tyler Noel, 22, pleaded guilty to second degree murder in May 2017. He's serving a sentence of life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 16 years.
Devin Morningstar pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, but was found guilty by a jury in November 2016. He's serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Shephard has been in custody since her arrest on March 1, 2016, following a Canada-wide warrant.
Another pre-trial conference is expected at the end of November.