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Court date for Alta. man accused of murder in 1976 death of Calgary teen pushed back to January

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The case of a man charged with murder in the death of a Calgary teen in 1976 has a new court date in January after a judge granted an adjournment on Tuesday morning.

Pauline Brazeau, a 16-year-old mother who had recently moved to Calgary, was last seen alive leaving Peppe’s Ristorante on 17 Avenue S.W. in January 1976.

Her body was found hours later along a logging road west of Calgary.

Ronald James Edwards, 74, is charged with non-capital murder.

Non-capital murder is no longer in the criminal code but was an offence at the time of Brazeau's death.

On Tuesday, Edwards’ lawyer Pawel Milczarek appeared in Cochrane court seeking an adjournment, saying he had not yet obtained substantial disclosure from the Crown Prosecutor’s office.

Justice Karen Crowshoe granted the motion setting a new court date of Jan. 9.

Edwards remains in custody and was not present in court, nor did he appear on closed circuit camera.

Brazeau's case was reopened in 2021 to reanalyze historical homicide investigations from the Calgary area.

Edwards’ lawyer says the length of time between Brazeau’s death and his client's arrest will add to the complexity of the trial.

“Whenever you get something that's maybe older than 10 years, in this case, way older than 10 years, memories tend to fade with time,” said Milczarek.

“The quality of the initial investigation, and how they recorded interviews with people, how well they did that, that's a big challenge for the crown, and maybe challenge for us.”

Alberta RCMP used Genetic Genealogy to help identify Edwards.

Genetic Genealogy uses information from consumer DNA genealogy companies to identify suspects in criminal cases.

Edwards’ lawyer says challenging that evidence will likely be a part of the defence’s case.

“There's obvious significant privacy concerns with this sort of genealogical DNA information gathering by the police, and I look forward to seeing what authorizations they had in place in order to get that,” said Milczarek.

In 2022, investigators contacted Othram Inc., a private lab in the United States, which eventually led them to information which led to the arrest.

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