The Crown has recently made changes to the charges against Reuben Buhler, the man arrested in relation to a triple homicide in Burns Lake.
Buhler is now being charged with first-degree murder against all three victims. He had been previously charged with three counts of second-degree murder.
The preliminary inquiry was supposed to take place last week in Burns Lake. However, the preliminary inquiry was adjourned.
“There was unfortunately insufficient court time to deal with the matter,” said Buhler’s lawyer, Jordan Allingham.
According to Dan McLaughlin, Communications Counsel with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, the preliminary hearing was adjourned by consent and will be rescheduled for some period in April 2017.
“We are all frustrated, but we all want the truth,” said Allana Watson, sister-in-law of one of the three people killed on April 27, 2015, in Burns Lake.
Watson, who lives in Kamloops, was planning on travelling to Burns Lake for the preliminary inquiry last week before it was adjourned.
According to Watson, two of the victims – Ridge Vern Vienneau and Ehr Ola Andersen – were roommates. She said her brother-in-law, Mitchel Wade Ruttan, was Vienneau’s co-worker.
Watson said that on the night prior to the murder, the three individuals were having a barbecue and watching the finals of a hockey game. She said her brother-in-law had been communicating back and forth with his wife via text message, since she was in a different house.
“They had been communicating back and forth about the hockey game; nobody communicated about an incident happening,” said Watson. “6:04 a.m. is when all contact stopped between Mitchel and his wife.”
Buhler was their next door neighbour at the time. Although Watson doesn’t know what happened that night, she suspects that there wasn’t a fight involved.
“If there was a fight going on, his wife would’ve known because they were all talking,” she said. “It was very unexpected.”
“Nobody had a chance,” she added. “Not one of them had a chance to call 911; I was absolutely devastated.”
Watson described her brother-in-law as a “hardworking taxpayer.”
“Mitchel was a family man; he has three little boys,” she said. “He would take his kids fishing and hunting.”
The Burns Lake RCMP attended the residence in the 200 block of Fifth Avenue in Burns Lake after receiving a report of potential foul play on April 27, 2015. Neighbours told the RCMP they had heard gun shots ring out earlier that morning. When officers entered the residence, they found three people dead inside.
The focus hearing on Buhler’s case took place on Feb. 24, 2016, in Burns Lake. The focus hearing dealt with what witnesses Crown will be calling during the preliminary inquiry.