A three-week trial that was scheduled to begin yesterday in Red Deer court has been delayed.
Bashir Gaashaan, 31, is charged with first-degree murder, unlawful confinement and interfering with a dead body. He fired his lawyer, Will Wilms, last week just days before the trial was to begin.
The charges are in connection to the death of Jenna Cartwright, a young Red Deer mother. Cartwright, 21, of Red Deer was found in a ditch near Olds in May 2011. She was last seen in Red Deer on March 29, 2011.
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. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for these charges later this month.
Meanwhile, Gaashaan was arrested on June 13, 2011 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 the Ontario city where Gaashaan was arrested on the warrant and escorted back to Red Deer to answer to the charges. He has been held in custody since his arrest.
Cartwright’s body was discovered at about 7 p.m. on May 3, 2011. 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 considered a murder, but the actual cause of death is not being released.