Preliminary hearing against suspect in hotel room homicide begins

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Evidence began Monday as part of a preliminary inquiry into whether a Calgary man will stand trial for murder in connection with the death of a woman in a hotel room in the city.

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Vladimir Ngbangbo Soki is charged with second degree murder in the March 23, 2021 death of Sharilyn Shelley Ann Gagnon. He also faces an aggravated assault charge in connection with the injuries sustained by a second victim, Beff Wolfchild, around the same time Gagnon died.

At the request of defense attorney Adriano Iovinelli, Provincial Court Judge Karim Jivraj imposed a publication ban on evidence presented by Crown prosecutors Terrence Mazerolle and Fiorella Avolio.

While the hearing is scheduled for an entire week, Mazerolle indicated that it could conclude as early as Tuesday. He and Avolio would have to call three witnesses to establish an evidentiary basis for a committal.

The standard for a judge to incarcerate a defendant is low and all it takes is for a jury to be able to weigh a few pieces of evidence for an order to be made.

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Soki, 30, was formally charged with murder three days after Gagnon’s body was discovered in a room at the Airport Traveller’s Inn, located at 1809 – 19th St. NE

Police responded to reports of unrest around 8 p.m. on March 23, 2021 at the hotel.

There they found a body later identified as 33-year-old Gagnon.

Soki was also charged with aggravated assault in connection with an aggravated assault, police say, linked to the woman’s death.

Upon discovery of Gagnon’s body, police issued a statement in which homicide Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said that murder was believed to have been targeted and domestic in nature.

If ultimately found guilty, Soki, who remains in custody, faces an automatic life sentence with a parole ineligibility set between 10 and 25 years.

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