John Savage, 51, charged with second-degree murder, appears in Stettler provincial court on April 26. (Facebook photo)

John Savage, 51, charged with second-degree murder, appears in Stettler provincial court on April 26. (Facebook photo)

Savage makes first court appearance on murder charges

Charged in connection with Stettler murder

A man charged with second-degree murder made his first court appearance in Stettler provincial court April 26.

John Roland Savage, 51, appeared via CCTV from Edmonton Remand Centre wearing an orange prisoner jump suit. Savage is also charged with seven counts of failing to comply with release conditions, theft under $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance.

Defence lawyer Daniel Wilson, acting as agent for Red Deer lawyer Jason Snider, requested an adjournment until May 10. Crown prosecutor Blair Brandon asked that it be adjourned until May 24 saying he needed time to go over disclosure he is expecting to get the first week of May from major crimes.

Judge W.A. Skinner said since there’s no court in Stettler May 24 that he will set the matter over for May 10 to enter a plea.

On April 6 RCMP found a deceased man in his Stettler home and made a plea to the public to help locate a white 2008 Ford F-150 truck that belonged to the victim.

On April 7 at about 8 p.m., police located the truck on Hwy 13 near Wetaskiwin and took two adult males and females into custody. Savage was injured during the arrest and taken to an Edmonton hospital. Police released the other male and two females without charges. While in the hospital, RCMP Major Crimes Unit (MCU) charged Savage with second-degree murder on April 10.

Stettler RCMP confirmed that Savage was first arrested in Stettler the morning of April 6 on an unrelated incident and taken to the Stettler Hospital where he was placed under watch by hospital security. Savage, however, fled the hospital sometime that afternoon – hours before he allegedly killed James Hulkovich, 70.

An autopsy by the Calgary Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on April 10 determined Hulkovich’s death was a homicide.