A man charged with murder made his first appearance in Red Deer provincial court.
Mark William Bitterman, 30, of no fixed address has been charged with first-degree murder in relation to the death of Curtis Rangen.
The charges stem from last month when Rangen was found dead in a freezer on May 3 by a welfare worker making a check at his residence. Officials believe that Rangen was checked on daily.
An autopsy was performed on May 6 confirming Rangen was murdered.
On June 30, Bitterman was arrested outside of a hotel in Kamloops, B.C. and charged with first-degree murder.
“This investigation speaks to the importance of inter-provincial policing agencies speaking with one another. It’s an important piece when we talk about public safety that the policing agencies across Canada are connected and aware for the interest of public safety,” said RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko. “There is a focus on those serious offenders whether or not they are committing crimes in their own community but also communities across Canada.”
He added through the course of their investigation, RCMP believe that Bitterman and Rangen were not known to each other prior to this incident.
“We don’t believe this is a crime of known association,” said Dosko, adding that Bitterman is known to police.
Sgt. Ryan Singleton, with the Calgary Major Crime Unit, said he could confirm that Rangen was the victim of a break and enter.
“We do not believe there was any association to Mark Bitterman other than proximity being the break and enter,” he said. “We believe it was a targeted attack on a residence for the purposes of a break and enter.”
In the early stages of the investigation, Dosko said he estimates there were about 40 officers working on the case and a team of a dozen officers working on a regular basis on the file.
Bitterman is also facing a number of charges in relation to robberies originating from male ‘John’s’ utilizing Internet escort sites for female companionship that took place earlier this month.
He has also been charged with kidnapping with a firearm, forcible confinement, uttering threats, theft over $5,000, unauthorized possession of a firearm, use of an imitation firearm in the commission of an indictable offence, use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence, assault, breach of probation and two counts each of robbery with a firearm and extortion with a firearm.
Two others, Lindsey Rae Mazzei, 30, of Red Deer and Florian Edward Poitra (also known as ‘E.,J.’), 31, of no fixed address, were arrested and charged in Kamloops in that incident as well.
During his first court appearance last Friday, dozens of charges were read. When asked by the court clerk if he understood the charges Bitterman replied “Yep”.
Bitterman will return to court on July 19.