Twitchell gives up appeal

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Convicted killer Mark Twitchell has abandoned his attempt to overturn his conviction and sentence.

After his conviction for first-degree murder in the death of Johnny Altinger last April, Twitchell filed an appeal in May to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Author Steve Lillebuen, who released a book on the case this week, revealed at a launch event in Edmonton Wednesday night that Twitchell told him he had dropped the appeal. Lillebuen has been corresponding with the killer since before his trial.

Alberta Justice spokesperson David Dear confirmed the appeal was abandoned.

“He abandoned both his appeal of conviction and of his sentence on Feb. 15 of this year,” Dear said.

Appeals generally have to be filed within 30 days of a conviction. Abandoning his appeal should mean that Twitchell would have no other avenues to try and have his sentence overturned.

Dear wouldn’t speculate on what could happen in the future now that Twitchell has abandoned his appeal or whether it is possible Twitchell could appeal his conviction again in the future.

“That would be up to a court to decide,” Dear said.

His appeal, which was hand-written and authored from the Saskatchewan institution where he is currently being held, argued that press coverage of the case ruined any chance of a fair trial.

“The media attention surrounding my case was so extensive, so blatant and so overtly sensationalized that it is unreasonable to expect any unsequestered jury to have remained uninfluenced by it, regardless of the judge’s instructions,” he wrote at the time.

Twitchell admitted to killing Altinger during the trial, but argued he had done so accidentally or in self-defence. He said Altinger had become enraged after arriving at a south Edmonton garage expecting go on a date, only to find out Twitchell had lured him there as part of a film project.

Twitchell was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

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