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Accused Sundre McDonald’s killer ordered to stand trial

Man charged with first degree murder of Innisfail High School 2021 graduate Josh Burns, 19

SUNDRE - A 27-year-old man charged following the death of a teenage Sundre McDonald's restaurant worker last summer has been ordered to stand trial.

Solaimane Elbettah faces a charge of first degree murder in the death of Josh Burns, 19.

Burns was found dead in the restaurant early on July 4, 2022. Elbettah, who also worked at the restaurant, was charged the following day.

The accused’s preliminary hearing before Judge Susan Pepper began in Calgary provincial court on Monday, concluding today, Tuesday, March 28 with Elbettah ordered to stand trial.

Preliminary hearings are held to determine if there is enough evidence to send an accused to trial. A publication ban prohibits reporting on any evidence or testimony presented during a preliminary hearing.

The matter has been adjourned to the Criminal Appearance Court to set a trial date.

Prosecutors Alyx Nanji and Vince Pingitore are representing the Crown in the case.

It will be up to the defence to decide if the trial is held before a jury or judge alone.

An NCR (not criminally responsible) application under Section 672 of the Criminal Code made by the accused earlier this year had yet to be dealt with by the court.

The section 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.

Elbettah remains in custody. 

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