Brittney Irving’s accused killer will finally stand trial, nearly three-and-a-half years after her body was found by police.
Joelon David Atish Verma, 31, was given a court date of Sept. 13 2013 for the April 2010 murder and robbery of Irving. The Kelowna man was arrested for the crime June 25, 2010.
The trial is expected to take six to eight weeks, the court heard Monday, and will be before a jury.
It’s been an unusually long period of wait for Verma to be squeezed into a tight court schedule.
Although he’s been in custody since his arrest, never applying for bail, there were several stumbling blocks to the process.
For one, Verma changed legal counsel mid-stream. His Calgary based lawyer dropped out for reasons undisclosed, earlier this year, and his new Vancouver-based lawyer, Jordan Watt, was retained just recently.
Whatever the cause, however, the wait clearly took a toll on Irving’s friends and family, who attended court only a couple times since Verma’s arrest.
During one of several court dates where Verma was supposed to set a trial schedule, but didn’t, Irving’s mother and a friend left the courtroom visibly rattled, later expressing frustration over the delays.
They weren’t in attendance Monday, when the date was set.
Irving, who lived in Kelowna but was raised in the North Okanagan, was 24 on April 7, 2010 when her family contacted police to report her missing.
Her Ford Explorer was found abandoned that same day on Philpott Road although her body was recovered away from the vicinity of her truck. Police never disclosed the location of her body, or her cause of death.
According to those who knew her, she was allegedly taking part in a drug transaction of some sort the last day she was seen. Although she faced some difficulty with her own drug addiction, friends and family have described her as a young woman “who was full of life.”