The legal road for Travis Vader in case of missing Alberta seniors
A timeline showing key events in the six-year saga
Travis Vader was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance at parole for seven years. Vader was found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann, who vanished 6 and half years ago while on a camping trip. Their bodies have never been found.
Here is a timeline with some key events in the case:
- Travis Vader gets life sentence for killing elderly Alberta couple
- Travis Vader and the McCanns: 6 years to a decision
July 3: Lyle and Marie McCann are last seen fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown of St. Albert, north of Edmonton, for a trip to Abbotsford, B.C.
July 5: The burned-out motorhome is discovered in the bush near Edson, about 200 kilometres west of St. Albert. Mounties phone the couple's home and knock on the door. Officers later explain that they weren't alarmed because vehicles are often found burning in the bush and it's not unusual for people to be away from home during the summer.
July 16: RCMP announce that the SUV the couple was towing has been found off a bush trail near Edson. Officers name Travis Vader as a person of interest in the case and release his photo.
July 19: Vader is arrested on outstanding warrants on unrelated charges.
April 18: Vader is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the McCanns.
May 1: Vader is convicted of drug trafficking, theft and weapons offences in the Barrhead area in June 2010.
Oct. 19: Before Vader can be sentenced, a judge declares a mistrial because evidence was not properly disclosed to the defence. Justice June Ross cites the RCMP as "negligent'' and orders a new trial.
Feb. 7: Vader files a lawsuit against the RCMP and justice officials claiming they kept him behind bars on trumped-up charges until he could be charged with murdering the McCanns. He had faced charges related to passing off a forged employment letter in court, but they were dropped.
Oct. 8: Vader is found not guilty of the previous drug, theft and weapons charges after a second trial. He pleads guilty to failing to comply with a 2010 court order and is sentenced to one day of time served. He is released from custody for the first time in four years and tells reporters his treatment by the justice system has been a "witch hunt.''
Dec. 19: RCMP arrest Vader and charge him again with murder in the deaths of the McCanns.
Jan. 26: Justice Denny Thomas denies an application by defence lawyers to drop the murder case over alleged abuse of process and an unreasonable delay in getting to trial.
March 8: Vader's first-degree murder trial begins. He tells the judge: "I am not guilty of that charge.''
May 30: Vader is denied bail on new charges laid during his murder trial. They include break and enter, possession of stolen property and breaching conditions of his release. His bail had previously been reviewed when he showed up late four times during the trial.
Sept. 15: Thomas acquits Vader of first-degree murder and finds him guilty of second-degree murder. But in doing so, he uses an outdated section of the Criminal Code. He says Vader was a desperate drug addict who killed the McCanns during a robbery, although there no evidence he intended to kill the couple.
Sept. 22: Defence lawyers file an application for a mistrial.
Oct. 28: Thomas decides not to allow cameras in the courtroom again for a hearing on the mistrial application.
Jan. 25: Thomas sentences Vader to life in prison with no parole eligibility for seven years. He dismisses a defence submission that Vader should get a lesser sentence because his rights were violated in custody. Bret McCann, the dead couple's son, says family members are going to attempt to go on with their lives.