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Vader remains in custody

Accused murderer Travis Vader will remain behind bars after his application for release was denied this week.
Travis Vader remains in custody after his latest application for release was denied this week.
Travis Vader remains in custody after his latest application for release was denied this week.

Accused murderer Travis Vader will remain behind bars after his application for release was denied this week.

He failed in an application July 19 for a review of an earlier decision, which cancelled his release due to alleged breaches related to his two murder charges.

Crown prosecutor Eman Joumaa confirmed Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil denied the application after hearing from Joumaa and defence lawyer Nathan Whitling. A decision on removing a no-contact order between Vader and his fiancĂ©e was adjourned until July 25.

This follows Belzil’s July 5 decision to cancel Vader’s release on the murder charges, finding there was reasonable and probable grounds to suggest he had committed an offence. Police have accused Vader of breaching his release by contacting a Crown witness during the trial and by failing a drug test, but those charges are still before the courts.

Following that decision, Joumaa explained Vader still had the opportunity to make an application to show cause that he should be released, which was the application heard this week.

Vader is accused of killing elderly St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann on July 3, 2010. The two were en route to a camping trip in British Columbia, but never arrived at their destination. Their motor home was found burnt at the Minnow Lake campground near Edson, and their SUV was recovered from a nearby rural property two weeks later. Their bodies have never been found.

His 12-week trial finished this June. Prosecutors have said there’s evidence Vader committed a violent act against the couple, and used their cellphone to call and send text messages to his ex-girlfriend, and drove their SUV.

Defence lawyer Brian Beresh argued all the evidence is circumstantial, Vader has an alibi for the time he’s accused of killing the McCanns, and said police ignored plausible leads on an alternate suspect.

A decision in the case is expected September 15, 2016.