Charge upgraded to murder in case of missing Chestermere woman
Kevin Barton, 60, now charged with 2nd-degree murder in death of friend and business partner Vida Smith
The charge against the man accused of killing missing Chestermere woman Vida Smith has been upgraded to murder.
Kevin Barton appeared Wednesday in court, where his manslaughter charge was upgraded to second-degree murder.
Smith, 69, was last seen on July 21. Her body has not been found.
The two had a years-long friendship and business relationship, police said at the time of Baron's arrest.
They were involved in the blackjack scene in Alberta and beyond, according to CBC sources, and were renowned card counters with ties to casinos across the country and in Las Vegas.
Smith was last seen July 21 when she travelled from her home in Chestermere to Calgary. Investigators believe she and Barton had an argument around 1 p.m. in a white SUV, which was parked near 2555 32nd Street N.E., on the west side of the Sunridge ATB.
Last week, police issued a plea to the public for help finding a woman who is a potential witness to that argument.
Police say Barton drove to Edmonton on July 22.
Anyone who may have seen Barton in either city, or who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the parking lot near the ATB, is asked to contact police.
Weeks after he was arrested in Smith's death, 27 firearms-related charges were laid. On Wednesday, those were consolidated to just three.
The offence date listed on court documents is July 30, the day Barton was arrested.
Barton will be back in court next month.