Date set in murder trial

The trial of three men accused of killing a 20-year old man and leaving his body on a forestry road near the Coquihalla Highway has been set for next summer.

Michael Bonin's body was discovered on Peers Creek Road just east of Hope on April 20, 2017. Almost nine months later, 26-year-old Ryan Watt, 20-year-old Joshua Fleurant and 27-year-old Jared Jorgenson were charged in the killing.

While all three were initially charged with first-degree murder, Jorgenson's charge was changed to second-degree murder last November.

Jorgenson was released from custody on $35,000 bail in June 2018, while the other two remain behind bars.

On Wednesday, the Crown applied to set the three men's 11-week trial for May 19, 2020, the soonest available date for the lengthy trial. While the date worked for Fleurant and Jorgenson's lawyers, Watt's lawyer said he wasn't available for that date.

A 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision ruled Supreme Court trials must be completed within 30 months of charges being laid.

The earliest start date all three accused and the Crown could agree on was June 27, 2020. 

While that start date would see the trial come to a conclusion several weeks past that 30-month limit, all three accused agreed to the timeline.

Annette Bonin, Michael's mother, said she's happy to know there's finally an end in sight to the whole process.

“I still haven't had closure, I'm having trouble dealing with the summer and going on with life,” she said. “I need to know what happened to my son, I need to know what they did, I have dreams.

“I'm looking forward to this, I'm hoping that Michael's going to get justice.”

Annette, who's travelled to Kelowna from her home in Rycroft, Alta. for several of the previous court dates, says she plans to stay in Kelowna throughout the 11-week trial next summer.

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