Rutland murder to trial

The murder trial of Steven Randy Pirko is scheduled to begin Feb. 5 in Kelowna.

Judge Monica McParland told a courtroom filled with family members on Wednesday there “was sufficient evidence to put the accused on trial for the offence he has been charged with.”

Pirko was charged with second-degree murder on Nov. 18, 2016, almost three years after Christopher Ausman was found dead.

RCMP found 32-year-old Ausman in a pool of blood on the 100 block of Highway 33 on the morning of Jan. 25, 2014.

The young father was playing a poker game at a friend's house in Rutland that night.

“From the early onset of this investigation, there were key factors to suggest that Christopher’s death was suspicious in nature," police said in a statement.

A three-day preliminary inquiry finished Wednesday and is protected under a publication ban.

Pirko, who was 25 at the time of his arrest, has a long criminal history.

"I wish I took a different path in life, I don't regret all my choices, but some make me sick with myself” Pirko wrote on Facebook in July 2016.

Family members of Ausman hugged outside the courtroom, in tears.

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