Trial begins for accused Delburne murderer

A five-week trial for a man accused of killing his estranged wife in Delburne began in Red Deer earlier this week.

Brian Clarence Volker, 50, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife 44-year-old Debi Volker.

She was found shot in her Delburne home on Feb. 23, 2009.

Brian is also charged with break and enter, one count of breaching conditions of release and three counts of failure to comply with previous court orders.

This week’s trial, which started on Monday with jury selection, is expected to run through until the third week in April.

Yesterday a voir dire, which is a trial within a trial, began. The evidence presented in the voir dire is currently under a publication ban. The jury is not present when this evidence is brought forward.

The judge will ultimately rule whether or not the evidence presented during the voir dire can be used during the trial. If so, then the information will be presented to the jury, become part of the trial and the publication ban will be lifted.

In 2009, Debi’s murder came after she made the necessary steps to avoid further violence and abuse by moving her and her three children out of the family farm 8 kms east of the village and into a new home in Delburne, 55 kms east of Red Deer.

After her murder, the small community of Delburne was left in shock.

Friends and family members collectively described Debi as “a shining light in the community.

“She should have the Main Street named after her. She touched everybody’s heart,” said Carol Van Steinburg, a close friend of Debi’s, shortly after the incident. “There were so many seniors she looked after. She gave blood regularly in Red Deer. She took the children to their games. She did catering. She worked at the school. She was involved in the church.

“She managed to do all of these things, plus keep a spotless house, do farm chores, baking, pickling. She couldn’t do enough,” added Steinburg. “Debi was a shining light in the community of Delburne.”

A preliminary inquiry was held last year and wrapped up after the majority of evidence was called. At the conclusion of the inquiry, Brian’s lawyer, Patricia MacNaughton consented there was enough evidence to go to trial.

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