The accused, Tewodros Mutugeta Kebede and Yu Chieh Liao, made brief court appearances today
A man and a woman have been charged in the July slayings of two women and a man found dead in a burned-out car in Calgary and another man found near a road west of the city.
They are both charged with first-degree murder in the death of Hanock Afowerk, 26, and three counts of accessory after the fact in the slayings of Cody Pfeiffer, 25, and sisters Tiffany Ear, 39, Glynnis Fox, 36.
Liao and Kebede made brief appearances in a Calgary courtroom on Wednesday. Liao was in person, while Kebede was over CCTV from the Calgary Remand Centre. The case was put over for three weeks while Kebede looks for a lawyer.
Kebede is also accused of wearing a disguise and possessing a gun during an armed robbery against a husband and wife on June 29, 2017, which is believed to be unrelated to the homicides.
A vehicle belonging to the Calgary Police Service's forensic crime scenes unit was parked outside the site where three bodies were found in a burned-out car in the northwest Calgary community of Sage Hill in July. (Monty Kruger/CBC)
On July 10, the first three victims — Pfeiffer, Fox and Ear — were found dead in a burned-out car in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood of Sage Hill.
Afowerk, who owned the vehicle, was found deceased two days later west of Calgary near the traffic circle where Highway 22 and Highway 8 meet.
Police said they believed all four deaths were connected and that the three people in the car were "in the wrong place at the wrong time," caught up in a targeted attack against Afowerk.
Pfeiffer was described by a friend as "a small town kid with a big heart."
The sisters were described by family members as "beautiful souls" who left behind 16 children between them.
A cousin said Fox and Ear, who were born and raised in Morley — an Indigenous community west of Calgary — had a difficult youth and still struggled at times in adulthood.
Two weeks after the bodies were discovered, Kebede was taken into custody on drug charges unrelated to the homicides.
Days after that, police arrested Liao, who had been identified as a person of interest in connection with the killings, in Toronto. She was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for fraud.
At the time, police said Liao was believed to have played a "significant role" in what officers described as the brutal and ruthless slayings of four people.
Kebede has a criminal history in Toronto, including convictions for assault and drug trafficking.