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Accused Sundre McDonald's killer makes mental health application

Solaimane Elbettah, 27, faces a charge of first degree murder in the death of Sundre man, Josh Burns, 19
MVT-Josh Burns
Josh Burns, 19, who graduated from Innisfail High School in 2021 and eventually found employment at the Sundre McDonald’s, was shortly after midnight on July 4 found deceased at the restaurant by members of the Sundre RCMP who were responding to a complaint about homicide. File photo

SUNDRE - A man charged following the death of a teenage Sundre McDonald's restaurant worker last July has made an application regarding his mental fitness to stand trial.

Solaimane Elbettah, 27, faces a charge of first degree murder.

Josh Burns, 19, was found dead in the restaurant early on July 4. Elbettah was charged on July 5.

Elbettah has been order detained and remains in custody.

Both Burns and Elbettah were workers at the McDonald's in Sundre.

Appearing via Webex web conferencing, Elbettah’s lawyer Pawel Milczarek made the not criminally responsible (NCR) application under Section 672 of the Criminal Code in Didsbury provincial court on Monday.

Section 672 states, in part, that a “court having jurisdiction over an accused in respect of an offence may order an assessment of the mental condition of the accused, if it has reasonable grounds to believe that such evidence is necessary to determine whether the accused is unfit to stand trial and whether the accused was, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility.”

The assessment may also determine whether the “balance of the mind of the accused was disturbed at the time of commission of the alleged offence.”

Judge Harry Van Harten ordered the NCR assessment of Elbettah to be conducted. The assessment will be undertaken at Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre (SARPC) in Calgary.

Crown prosecutor Alyx Nanji did not oppose the NCR application made by Milczarek.

Elbettah did not appear during Monday's Webex court proceeding.

A date for SARPC to return an assessment report on Elbettah has not been set.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place in Didsbury provincial court March 27-30.

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