MELBOURNE — With my first draft of the book on the Mark Twitchell case completed this week, I wanted to revisit a legal decision that had a major impact before and after the first-degree murder trial.
Back in mid-June, about two months after Mark Twitchell was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Johnny Altinger, the Crown stayed an attempted murder charge related to his first alleged victim.
This decision to drop the second charge may seem odd to those who have followed the case closely. Detectives were adamant they had gathered a mountain of evidence — much of it revealed during the murder trial while even Twitchell himself admitted on the witness stand to committing the attack.
So why abandon it? The reasons can actually be found within the various pre-trial motions that set a path through the legal system that was pretty hard to change once it was decided upon.
In preparing the case for trial, the Crown had argued in court for both the attempted murder and first-degree murder charges be heard simultaneously as they were part of the same “transaction” of allegedly becoming a “serial killer.”