British Columbia

B.C. man remains in custody while awaiting retrial in 'brutal' murder

A man whose conviction was overturned will remain in custody for at least the next 60 days. James David Junior Charlie is awaiting a retrial in the murder of Fribjon Bjornson near Fort St. James, B.C., in 2012.

Last seen alive at 7-Eleven, Fribjon Bjornson's remains found in northern B.C. in 2012

Fribjon Bjornson was a 28-year-old logger and a father of two when he was murdered in 2012 near Vanderhoof, B.C., west of Prince George. (RCMP)

A B.C. man whose first degree murder conviction was overturned will remain in custody for at least 60 days.

James David Junior Charlie is awaiting retrial for the murder of Fribjon Bjornson, a 28-year-old logger and father.

Charlie appeared in a northern B.C. courtroom in Prince George this week via video link from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Metro Vancouver where he is being held.

Madame Justice Marguerite H. Church, who presided via a telephone link, told Charlie, "I am required to detain you."

Asked if he had anything to add, Charlie said, "Nah, I'm good."

In 2017, Charlie was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the slaying of Bjornson.

Charlie also pleaded guilty to "offering indignities to a dead body or human remains."

The judge called the circumstances of Bjornson's death "brutal."

Bjornson was last seen alive at a 7-Eleven, near Vanderhoof, west of Prince George. Three weeks later, Bjornson's severed head was discovered in an empty house on a reserve near Fort St James, about 60 kilometres to the north.

The rest of his body has never been found.

In January, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled that the judge in Charlie's trial gave incorrect and incomplete information in response to a juror's question. Charlie's first degree murder conviction was set aside, and a new trial was ordered.

James David Junior Charlie appeared in Prince George court via a video link from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, B.C. The date for his retrial is scheduled to be set in April. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC )

The date of the new trial is scheduled to be set in April. 

"Charlie has been detained automatically, by virtue of the charges he faces," Daniel McLaughlin, communications counsel for the B.C. Prosecution Service, told CBC News.

McLaughlin said the onus is on Charlie to apply for bail, "if or when he does."

In 2016, two other men pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Bjornson's death.