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Collingwood man accused of murdering wife will go to trial

James Schwalm appeared in a Collingwood courtroom today to waive his right to a preliminary hearing and proceed to Superior Court
A cropped photo from Twitter shows James Schwalm being promoted to the rank of captain with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services. He was dismissed from the service following the murder charge.

A Collingwood man accused of killing his wife will go to trial after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing in a local courtroom today. 

James Schwalm, who is accused of killing his wife, Ashley Schwalm, appeared in a Collingwood courtroom Tuesday morning for what was scheduled to be the first of a dozen days set aside for a preliminary hearing. 

Through his lawyer, Joelle Klein, he waived his right to the preliminary hearing, prompting the judge to commit Schwalm to trial via the Superior Court of Justice. 

James Schwalm is charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a dead body. The charges were laid last year after the body of Ashley Schwalm, 40, was discovered inside a Mitsubishi Outlander sport utility vehicle on Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:55 a.m. The vehicle had careened down an embankment on Arrowhead Road and caught fire after landing. 

On Feb. 3, OPP announced Schwalm's death was the subject of a homicide investigation and that her 38-year-old husband, James Schwalm, had been charged with second-degree murder and indignity to a dead body. On Feb. 17, police announced they had upgraded the charges to first-degree murder. 

James Schwalm was a captain with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, but has since been fired. 

Justice Robert Gattrell presided over this morning's court proceeding. The prosecution was represented by Crown Attorney Lynn Saunders and Assistant Crown Attorney Rebecca Watson. Klein led the defence. 

A preliminary hearing is held by the court for a judge to decide whether there is enough evidence to send a case to trial, according to the Government of Canada's department of justice.

At the hearing, the prosecutor presents their case against the accused and may call witnesses to give evidence. Following a preliminary hearing, a judge can decide to dismiss charges, or may send a case to trial. Since Schwalm waived this right, the case will proceed to the Superior Court with the next date set for May 13 in Barrie. 

None of the charges against James Schwalm have been proven in court.