Tag Archives: Deadmonton

Mark Twitchell’s ‘Dexter’ trial over: now what?

EDMONTON — Mark Twitchell’s murder trial essentially narrowed to a single issue that will be explored further in my upcoming book on the case: where does reality end and fantasy begin?

It is a question that defines our internet generation and our obsession with reality television, but I’m hard pressed to find the topic ever before becoming a talking point for a major murder trial.

A jury found the aspiring filmmaker guilty of first-degree murder on Tuesday after hearing weeks of evidence that made some observers furious and others sick to their stomachs. The public gallery cried on several occasions. It took under five hours for the jury to reach a decision.

By now you have likely read a bit about the victim, Johnny Altinger, and the man convicted of his murder, Mark Twitchell. With the trial over, I am getting closer to sharing this whole story with you.

The book, The Devil’s Cinema (pre-orders available), will provide new detail and insight into this case, but I’m not able to say much more at this time.

I’ve agreed to a few interviews in the last few days. Much will be left unsaid until the book is published.

As I told Sun Media in an interview this week:

“There’s a lot in the book that the jury didn’t hear and the public hasn’t heard yet.”

“This was a case that put art on trial and the jury was trying to decide where this line goes that separated fact from fiction. From a writer’s perspective, it’s fascinating that you have a criminal trial that’s less about physical evidence and forensics, and more about a movie script and novels and writings.”

The Twitchell book is slated to be released likely in the spring of next year, but no date has been confirmed.

One complicating factor is that Twitchell is still facing an attempted murder trial for what the Crown alleges is his first attempted murder victim. That trial has not yet been scheduled.

It’s possible that the Crown will not proceed with that case because Twitchell is already serving life in prison and sentences in Canada can’t be made any longer.

However, a second conviction could make a difference in parole eligibility. A life sentence prevents an inmate from applying for parole for 25 years. As far as I know, no decision has been made either way on this second charge at this time.


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Twitchell murder trial begins

EDMONTON — Jury selection has been completed in Mark Twitchell’s lengthy court proceedings, leading the way for a criminal trial to begin later this week.

Twitchell is charged with the first-degree murder of Johnny Altinger, a 38-year-old who vanished in October 2008.

After seven hours of deliberations today, a jury of 12 people and two alternates was selected from a pool of 192 people.

The trial will begin at 1.30pm on Wednesday, March 16th and is expected to run no later than the end of April. Over 70 people are expected to be called as witnesses.

I won’t be blogging or tweeting any of this case over the next four to six weeks as I’ll be focused solely on research for the forthcoming book (to be published by McClelland and Stewart).

Anyone with information about this case can contact me at 780-802-3835 or via e-mail at steve [at] stevelillebuen [dot] com.

There’s always the post office too:

PO Box 403   Stn. Main
Edmonton, AB   T5J 2J6

Anonymity is guaranteed.

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