Man ac­cused of mur­der, ex­tor­tion gets a new lawyer

Medicine Hat News - - HOMETOWN NEWS - JEREMY APPEL jap­[email protected]­hat­news.com Twit­ter: MHNJere­myAp­pel

Robert Hoef­man, ac­cused in the Oc­to­ber 2017 mur­der of 64year-old James Sa­tre, has a new lawyer.

The ac­cused made a brief ap­pear­ance in provin­cial court Thurs­day via closed-cir­cuit TV from the Medicine Hat Re­mand Cen­tre.

Dur­ing the ap­pear­ance, Greg White with­drew as coun­sel and Marc Crarer took over the file.

Crarer asked for an ad­journ­ment to Feb. 4 be­cause the case’s “dis­clo­sure is vo­lu­mi­nous,” which was granted by Judge Eric Brooks.

Hoef­man, 56, faces charges of ex­tor­tion and first-de­gree mur­der, and was de­nied bail Nov. 30.

The ac­cused has been in cus­tody since Nov. 9, 2017, when he was ar­rested on the ex­tor­tion charge, which po­lice be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing Oct. 10, 2017.

The iden­tity of the ex­tor­tion com­plainant is pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban.

Sa­tre’s body was found in an al­ley­way near his res­i­dence at the in­ter­sec­tion of Mill Street and Smelter Av­enue the day after the ex­tor­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan.

In mid-Oc­to­ber 2017, Medicine Hat Po­lice Ser­vice Insp. Brent Se­con­diak an­nounced a sus­pected con­nec­tion be­tween the ex­tor­tion and homi­cide. Po­lice be­lieve the homi­cide “was used to strike fear into the vic­tim of the ex­tor­tion.”

MHPS has no in­for­ma­tion link­ing Hoef­man with Sa­tre, nor is there any es­tab­lished con­nec­tion be­tween Sa­tre and the ex­tor­tion vic­tim, he added.

Se­con­diak called Sa­tre an ap­par­ent “vic­tim of cir­cum­stance and lo­ca­tion.”

Shortly after his ar­rest, Hoef­man was sent to the South­ern Al­berta Foren­sic Psy­chi­a­try Cen­tre Cal­gary for a psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sess­ment.

He was charged with first­de­gree mur­der Jan. 10, 2018.

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