Accused prison killer’s trial adjourned to August

Saskatchewan Penitentiary. Herald file photo

The man accused of murdering an inmate at Saskatchewan Penitentiary sat silently through the first day of his court proceedings on Wednesday.

Tyler Vandewater, 28, appeared by video in Prince Albert’s provincial courthouse. He faced the camera from a small room in the maximum security unit of the federal penitentiary, handcuffed, with a guard standing watch over each shoulder.

Justice Lavoie told Vandewater that he is accused of second-degree murder for the June 7 death of Chris Van Camp. He is also facing two separate charges of aggravated assault from late last year. Lavoie adjourned all three charges to August 9 at the request of the defence.

Vandewater is currently being held in administrative segregation, where he is isolated from the general population.

Van Camp was also set to face minor drug charges on Wednesday. The Crown stayed the matter, due to his death. Van Camp had only recently returned to prison after he nearly died of an overdose while out of parole, according to his mother, Lauren Laithwaite.

Laithwaite said that a viewing ceremony of her son is scheduled for Thursday in his hometown of Calgary. He will be buried the next day. According to Laithwaite, the funeral home informed her that he had been “beaten up considerably.”

Laithwaite said she has retained a lawyer for a lawsuit against Correctional Service Canada. She blames federal prison authorities for putting him back into general population shortly after he was hospitalized for his overdose.