Brittney Irving’s accused killer will finally stand trial, nearly three-and-a-half years after her body was discovered.
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 prison 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 made only a couple appearances since Verma’s arrest.
During one appearance where Verma was supposed to set a court date, but didn’t, Irving’s mother and a friend left the courtroom visibly rattled by the wait.
They weren’t in attendance Monday, when the date was set.
Irving, who lived in Kelowna but was raised in Armstrong, was 24 on April 7, 2010 when her family contacted police to report she was missing.
Her Ford Explorer was found abandoned that same day on Philpott Road in Kelowna, and her body was recovered away from the vicinity of her truck, although 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 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.”