Pembroke -- The 28-year-old Bonnechere Valley man charged with second degree murder in the July 9, 2021 death of Ronnie Graham of Eganville will return for a preliminary inquiry in mid-October following a virtual court appearance on April 28.
Zachary Marquardt, who is currently in custody at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC), is being represented by Gorham Vandebeek, a Toronto-based legal firm. He was included in the telephone call from OCDC where it was determined the preliminary inquiry dates were set for October 18 through October 20 and October 26. In the event more time is required for this portion of the case, November 2 and 3 were also set aside.
This is in addition to a focus hearing that will be scheduled in the next three months to determine the parameters of the inquiry at which time Justice Jeffery Richardson will likely set the times and dates of a future trial should that be the outcome of the inquiry.
The charge was reduced to second degree murder and Mr. Marquardt has remained in custody at the OCDC since the time of his arrest.
Mr. Graham, 67, a native of British Columbia who lived most recently in Eganville and Pikwakanagan, was found dead outside a residence that had been destroyed by fire nine days earlier. At the time of the murder, then a 27-year-old man, the accused was found nearby with non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the Pembroke Regional Hospital by Renfrew County Ambulance. Mr. Marquardt was later charged with first degree murder and failing to comply with a probation order.
Ironically, the murder occurred at the scene of an earlier tragedy at Pikwakanagan slightly over a week previous when the residence where Mr. Graham was found dead was badly damaged by fire. In fact, he had escaped from the burning home on July 4 where he was taking a nap after a faulty electrical outlet started an afternoon fire at the residence.
A day after his murder a sacred fire was started at the Pikwakanagan Pow Wow grounds and remained lit for five days. The ceremony is a healing custom for the survivors as well as the lost ones, those who have passed on.
When the case goes to trial, it is expected the court will hear from seven witnesses for the prosecution.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader