The preliminary hearing for Nick Fontanelli, the Montreal man accused of first-degree murder in the death of his fiancée, Samantha Higgins, has been set for Nov. 28.

Fontanelli, 23, appeared in a Montreal court Tuesday morning.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked Quebec Court Judge Hélène Morin to set aside two weeks for the preliminary hearing and said he will call 25 witnesses, including three expert witnesses.

Samantha Higgins 22 Montreal missing

Samantha Higgins, 22, was reported missing after she vanished returning home from a friend's house on July 7, 2015. (Samantha Higgins/Facebook)


Judge Morin expressed surprise at the length of the preliminary hearing, and Bouthillier conceded it would be long.

He said part of the reason for that is that the defence is contesting the cause of death.

Higgins, a 22-year-old mother of two, went missing just after midnight on July 7 while she was walking home from a friend's house about 10 minutes away from her Lasalle home.

Three days later, police said that some of Higgins's remains had been found in Hinchinbrooke in the Montérégie region, about 70 kilometres away.

Fontanelli was arrested July 13.

He is also charged with committing an indignity to a body.

Higgins's parents and about a dozen supporters were in the courtroom Tuesday – as they have been for every step of the legal proceedings. Many wore pink T-shirts with the words "Justice for Samantha" written on the back.