|Jeffrey Leinen is taken out of court in Didsbury, Alta., after he allegedly mowed down a number of people outside an Olds, Alta., bar on Friday. One man was killed in the incident. (Stuart Dryden, QMI Agency)
DIDSBURY, Alberta - Seeing the aftermath of the hit-and-run, bar owner Jen Casavant, chose to join several people in court to see the man accused of the crime which killed a college student.
"It's just a true tragedy," Casavant said of the hit-and-run outside her Texas Mickey Bar in Olds.
"I hope he gets what he deserves."
Several college students were out in force to support fellow student, Nicholas Baier, who was mowed down outside the bar Friday.
The accused, Jeffrey Kevin Leinen, who was on parole at the time of the incident, hid his face and said nothing as he was led into the court house.
The 24-year-old is accused of first-degree murder after Baier was struck while standing in the bar's parking lot with a group of people, all sent running for cover, as the Ford F250 plowed into the crowd.
The 18-year-old Olds College student died as the man driving the truck sped off.
Police arrested a suspect not far away after he crawled out of the overturned pickup.
Outside court, lawyer Andre Ouellette, acting as Leinen's agent, said the entire story is not being told.
Countering reports the accused was fighting in the bar - prior to being evicted for fighting with bar staff and patrons - he said Leinen had been assaulted inside the premises.
"The information I'm getting is my client was getting beaten up in the bar and was put in a choke-hold by staff," he said adding Leinen has injuries to his face and ribs.
"He's still in shock."
So is the community where the crime happened, said Ricki Cox.
"I still haven't wrapped my head around it," the woman, who was at the bar that night, said outside court.
"The whole town is in shock right now."
Leinen is also charged with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
He was prohibited from driving at the time and has a lengthy criminal record.
In court, the skinny, heavily tattooed man with a frosted faux mohawk, sat in prison garb with his eyes downcast.
Police said there does not appear to be any association between the accused and Baier - a farm boy who appears to be an innocent victim targeted in an alcohol-fueled rage.
The first-degree murder charge stems from police allegations he deliberately drove into the crowd -- using the truck as a lethal weapon.
Baier was a second-year agricultural management student at Olds College from the small east central Alberta farming community of Altario, where his parents and younger sister live.
He was set to graduate in the spring with plans to work at his family ranch.
Leinen remains in custody with his next court appearance set for Nov. 22.