The man suspected of killing his girlfriend — the mother of his child — in the summer of 2010 won’t go to trial until next year.
David Folker formally answered to the charges against him Tuesday morning in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
The 41-year-old is charged with second-degree murder and improperly or indecently interfering with or performing an indignity to a human body.
Folker is not in custody, so when the case was called he walked out of the public seats and into the prisoner’s dock.
He pleaded not guilty to both counts.
His eight-week jury trial is scheduled to start Feb. 4, 2013.
When trying to agree on trial dates, Justice Wayne Dymond pointed out the court schedule is extremely full this year, with two other murder cases set to be heard in the fall.
Steven Michael Neville’s trial is set for October, while Trevor Pardy’s is scheduled to begin in November.
Dymond noted the courthouse has only two jury rooms, one of which is very small.
He said the fall murder trials will overlap for one week, making accommodation difficult.
Folker’s lawyer, Rosellen Sullivan, told the judge that since she’s also representing Neville, it will be difficult to schedule pre-trial applications.
Dymond, Sullivan and Crown prosecutor Lloyd Strickland agreed to set the case over until the next arraignment date, June 4.
“Maybe something can be worked out (regarding scheduling for pre-trial applications) between now and then,” the judge said.
Folker is accused of killing his girlfriend, Ann Marie Shirran.
The 32-year-old disappeared July 18, 2010, and was reportedly last seen at the Kilbride home she shared with Folker.
He reported her missing. An extensive search was conducted, but it wasn’t until Sept. 2, 2010 that Shirran’s body was found by campers in the woods south of Cappahayden.
Other murder trials
In Steven Neville’s case, jury selection is set for Oct. 2 and the trial is expected to run from Oct. 22-Nov. 30. He’s charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and breach of probation.
He’s accused of killing Doug Flynn in Paradise by stabbing him Oct. 9, 2010, and allegedly trying to kill another man, also by stabbing.
Trevor Pardy is suspected of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend, Triffie Wadman, on Oct. 1, 2011 on Boggy Hall Place in the west end of St. John’s.
His trial is scheduled to run from Nov. 19 to Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, another murder case was called during arraignments Tuesday.
David John Ryan was not in court but was represented by his lawyer, Bob Buckingham.
Crown prosecutor Steve Dawson told the judge he needed more time to review the file, calling it “somewhat complicated.”
The case will be back June 4 for a status update.
In May 2007, a jury found Ryan guilty of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years. However, in March Ryan was released from jail to await a new trial.
His conviction and sentence had been overturned by a Court of Appeal panel that concluded the judge should have declared a mistrial in the matter, which saw Ryan representing himself.
The panel said Ryan did not have an understanding of the complex legal issues involved in defending himself.
Many serious matters pending
Besides Folker, Neville, Pardy and Ryan, four other murder cases are in various stages of progress.
Raymond Gerald Newman’s case is on hold while lawyers deal with a slew of pre-trial applications.
Newman, 33, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Chrissy Predham-Newman, 28.
Predham-Newman’s body was found in her Airport Heights apartment in St. John’s Jan. 21, 2007. She had been stabbed numerous times and her throat was reportedly slit.
Newman was arrested and charged 2 1/2 years later. He was initially denied bail, but later released on conditions.
Jury selection was originally scheduled for Sept. 19, 2011, with the trial scheduled to start a week later. However, due to ongoing applications matters — which are banned from publication — new dates for the trial have yet to be set.
The preliminary inquiry for Philip Wayne Pynn and Lyndon Malcolm Butler is scheduled to begin June 28, and is expected to last three weeks.
They are jointly charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Nick Winsor in the east end of St. John’s July 9, 2011, and the attempted murder of another man.
They also face other charges, including assault with a weapon and attempted robbery.
Pynn is still in custody, while Butler was released at the end of March on strict conditions.
A third man, Jonathan Eugene Rowe, was arrested in connection with the murder last month.
He was charged with being an accessory to murder by reportedly helping Pynn escape from the scene after Winsor was killed.
Rowe is in custody and is due back in court May 17.