Accused murderer appears in court

A man accused of murdering a young Red Deer woman and leaving her body in a ditch along a rural road made his first court appearance recently in Red Deer provincial court.

Jenna Cartwright, 21, of Red Deer was found in a ditch near Olds on May 3.

Bashir Gaashaan, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder, unlawful confinement and offering an indignity to human remains in connection to Cartwright’s death. The charges allegedly stem from March 30.

Cartwright was last seen in Red Deer on March 29.

Gaashaan is also charged with trafficking cocaine, assault, assault with a weapon, theft, possession of a weapon, evading police and failing to attend court. These charges are unrelated to the alleged murder.

Last Wednesday, Gaashaan appeared in court by CCTV and did not speak. He showed no emotion as family and friends of Cartwright sat in the courtroom.

His lawyer, Will Willms of Red Deer asked for the matter to be put over to allow him to review the disclosure of the case. Gaashaan will appear back in Red Deer court on Sept. 12.

Meanwhile, Gaashaan was arrested on June 13 in Thunder Bay after what RCMP describe as an exhaustive investigation involving about 30 police investigators and over 4,000 hours. An arrest team of three police officers flew to Ontario city where Gaashaan was arrested on the warrant and escorted back to Red Deer to answer to the charges. He also had additional outstanding warrants for his arrest totaling seven charges for unrelated matters.

Cartwright’s body was discovered at about 7 p.m. on May 3. The RCMP in Olds were advised about the discovery of a body in a rural location about 4 kms northeast of the town. The discovery had been made by a resident of the area who had been driving at the time. The body was seen lying adjacent to a roadway.

The scene was examined by the RCMP Forensic identification Section and the Calgary Major Crimes Unit was called in to assist in this investigation. The remains were removed to the Calgary Medical Examiner’s Officer who conducted an autopsy.

The results of the autopsy concluded that this death should be consider as a murder, but the actual cause of death is not being released.