Jury trial begins for man accused in Mac’s store shootings

A jury trial began Friday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench for a man charged in the December 2015 murders of two Mac’s convenience store employees.

Colton James Steinhauer, 27, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Karanpal Bhangu and Ricky Cenabre.

Steinhauer has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

On Friday, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Bhangu’s death and to second-degree murder in the killing of Cenabre.

But the Crown would not accept those pleas, triggering a jury trial that is expected to last 17 days.

Steinhauer has also entered guilty pleas on two counts of robbery with a firearm. Those pleas were accepted by the Crown.

The jury was sworn in Friday and listened to a lengthy agreed statement of facts in the case. The Crown said it has 20 witnesses scheduled to testify.

Bhangu and Cenabre were shot to death at separate Mac’s stores during a robbery spree in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2015. The clerks were working overnight shifts alone at two south Edmonton Mac’s stores.

Steinhauer and two others were arrested later that day after leading police on a chase down the Whitemud Drive freeway.

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