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Twitchell appeal: media tainted jury

EDMONTON — Mark Twitchell’s appeal of his murder conviction, filed this week, will hinge on proving a miscarriage of justice has occurred.

In his notice of appeal, Twitchell argues that he deserves another trial, this time by judge alone, because unwanted media attention was “so extensive, so blatant and so overly sensationalized that it is unreasonable to expect any unsequestered jury to have remained uninfluenced by it.”

He also raises concerns surrounding his credibility and grounds he believes are sufficient to establish reasonable doubt. (Download: Twitchell Notice of Appeal).

Twitchell is currently serving his life sentence for the luring death and dismemberment of Johnny Altinger at Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. During the trial, he admitted that he lured Altinger and dismembered his body, burned it, dismembered it again and then disposed of the remains down a sewer. He argued, however, that the killing was in self-defence and not a planned attack.

This process of appealing a first-degree murder conviction can take a few months or up to a year to proceed, if it does at all. He will have to convince a panel of three judges that there was an error of law that, had it not happened, would have changed the outcome of the trial.

It may therefore be prudent to revisit an important detail in this case that was not covered at length in the media: who were these 12 people who found Twitchell guilty after five hours of deliberations?

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