Muckle appeals dangerous offender status
An Ontario man who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and attempted murder after nearly killing a pregnant woman in Banff is appealing his dangerous offender status.
Albert George Muckle, 32, was given an indeterminate sentence in July 2006, roughly a year after he viciously assaulted and raped Julianne Courneya, a 20-year-old hotel worker who met the accused the night of the incident.
After serving five years at Kent Institution in Agassiz, B.C., Muckle has submitted a hand-written letter to the Alberta Court of Appeal stating he was prevented by correctional officers from filling out the required form within the 30-day appeal period.
According to reports, Muckle indicated he had filled out an appeal application 91 days after sentencing, however, correctional officers refused to accept his submission.
Muckle also stated heís been trying to get another application to no avail and said Calgary Legal Aid has not provided any assistance. The Kenora, Ont., native was present at the Calgary Remand Centre to address his written request at the Alberta Court of Appeal, however, the matter was put over to Jan. 8.
Records reported from the Alberta Court of Appeal state Muckleís notice was received and a letter was returned explaining he had to apply for extra time as well as outline the reason for an appeal to be granted. As of press time, no response from Muckle had been received.
In the early morning hours of July 11, 2005, Courneya met Muckle outside the Aurora nightclub after attending a farewell party for a co-worker earlier that evening, the former provincial court in Banff heard at the trial. The victim left the nightclub with Muckle and the pair went to Central Park and sat at a picnic table.
Courneya proceeded to leave Muckle, at which point he grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground, resulting in the victimís head striking the pavement, knocking her unconscious.
After dragging Courneya into the bushes near the Bow River, Muckle stole $20 from her purse and went on an unsuccessful search for drugs. Upon returning to the park, Muckle raped the victim twice and attempted to strangle her with the strap from her purse.
At approximately 7 a.m. that morning, a passerby spotted the victim shaking in the bushes with the purse strap still around her neck and her eyes blackened. Courneya was eventually transported to a hospital in Ottawa, her hometown, where she remained in a persistent vegetative state.
She has since been moved to Florida for specialized treatment. A trust fund has been set up by family members to help pay for the cost as it is not covered by OHIP or private insurance.
Muckle was eventually picked up by Mounties after attempting to hitchhike out of town. He had only been in Banff for four days prior to the incident after arriving from B.C.
Further review of his past revealed that Muckle had served a four-year prison sentence in 1999 for stabbing a cab driver twice while he was intoxicated as well as being involved in a prison riot during his incarceration.
During the trial for the incident in Banff, the accused was deemed a psychopath by doctors and Crown Prosecutor Patricia Yelle submitted 11 binders worth of documentation relating to his history.
Despite pleas from Muckle indicating he was assaulted whilst being housed at the remand centre in Calgary by members of first nations gangs, the Alberta Solicitor Generalís office denied these allegations, stating the accused had been put into protective custody.
In its coverage of the trial, the Outlook reported the accused saying to Judge Sandra Hamilton, ďIíll be lucky if Iím not dead before this thing finishes.Ē
Muckle eventually agreed to being declared a dangerous offender, the most severe label handed down to the countryís most violent criminals, after a deal was struck between Yelle and defense lawyer Harry van Harten.
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