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Murder suspect wants trial by judge

Sarah Foord murder case still heading to trial but suspect John Wendell Keyler has re-elected for a trial by judge alone 

A Fort St. John man accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her remains north of the city nearly two years ago will still stand trial this fall. 

John Wendell Keyler is charged with second-degree murder and interfering with human remains stemming from the disappearance of Sarah Foord in July 2020. 

He made a brief video appearance in Fort St. John Supreme Court Thursday morning, opting for a re-election of his trial method – switching from a jury trial to judge alone.  

The trial is expected to commence on Oct. 10 in Prince George, with a pretrial conference to be held on Sept. 23 in Fort St. John.  

Keyler has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in custody. 

He previously opted for a jury trial back in March, after a series of voir dire court hearings were held to determine the admissibility of evidence. 

A preliminary inquiry in February found there was sufficient evidence to try for a conviction.  

RCMP first issued a public alert about Sarah Foord’s disappearance on July 11, 2020, and initially believed she was travelling with Keyler, who was found days later in Surrey. 

The Major Crimes Unit was then tasked to lead the investigation on July 13, and soon after arrived in Fort St. John to begin their search at Foord's home in the nearby community of Taylor. 

Investigators later found Foord’s remains on July 24 in a remote location 75 kilometres north of the city, and Keyler was arrested without incident, according to RCMP. 

RCMP said the investigation was assisted by Surrey RCMP, forensic identification and search units, police dogs, as well as other units from across B.C. and Alberta. 

Keyler has a long list of previous convictions in Fort St. John for robbery, theft, fraud, break and enter, possessing stolen property, assault, and mischief. 

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.  

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