|Travis Brandon Baumgartner, 21. Edmonton Police Service EPS has identified Baumgartner as a person of interest in the early-morning shootings at the University of Alberta, June 15, 2012. (EDMONTON POLICE SERVICE HANDOUT)
EDMONTON - An accused triple killer who allegedly gunned down four security guard co-workers in a robbery appeared in court for the first time Thursday.
Travis Baumgartner, 21, made a brief appearance in Edmonton’s provincial court on three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and four counts of robbery with a firearm.
The hulking Sherwood Park man - who was handcuffed, shackled and wearing remand-issued blue coveralls - alternated between looking down and looking up to listen when the judge and lawyers spoke.
Judge Lloyd Malin agreed with a request by Chief Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau for a no-contact order prohibiting Baumgartner from speaking with potential witnesses, including his mother, some friends and any employees of G4S Cash Solutions - the armoured car company Baumgartner and the victims worked for.
Defence lawyer Kent Teskey told court he was acting as an agent for high-profile lawyer Peter Royal and said their law firm was acting for Baumgartner for his first appearance, but had not been retained yet.
The case was then adjourned to July 5.
Outside court, Bilodeau spoke to the media, although he said he couldn’t say much due to the matter being before the courts.
“On behalf of the Crown, we want to express our deepest sympathies to the victims of this horrible event,” said Bilodeau, adding that Edmonton homicide detectives have put together a “very compelling” case.
When asked why the chief Crown prosecutor was taking the case, Bilodeau diplomatically said the decision does not mean that other homicides aren’t just as important.
“But, this one here really rocked the community and rocked the whole nation,” said Bilodeau, adding that he wanted the public to know that the Crown’s office is taking the matter “very seriously.”
“We will muster the evidence, we will muster the witnesses and then we will take them to trial,” he said.
Police said Baumgartner was one of five G4S security guards exchanging funds at a bank machine inside the University of Alberta’s Hub Mall shortly after midnight Friday.
At some point during the job, guards Michelle Shegelski, 26, Brian Ilesic, 35, and Eddie Rejano, 39, were shot and killed - three inside and one outside. Guard Matthew Schuman remains in critical condition in hospital.
A G4S armoured car, which police believe was the initial getaway vehicle used in the robbery, was discovered empty near a southeast Edmonton G4S facility early Friday morning.
A Canada-wide warrant for Baumgartner ended after a 36-hour manhunt ended Saturday when he was caught at a border crossing in Lynden, Wash., southwest of Abbotsford, B.C.
Police said he was carrying more than $330,000 in Canadian currency and his own driver’s licence, but no passport.
Baumgartner was flown back to Edmonton on Wednesday.
The Edmonton investigators dispatched to B.C. have completed a thorough examination of Baumgartner’s Ford F-150 truck, which police said he was driving with a licence plate stolen from his mother. Cops said his G4S-issued body armour and handgun have not been recovered.