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Men accused in death of homeless man to have preliminary hearing in February

A single rose in memory of Harley Lawrence is shown inside a bus shelter along Commercial Street in Berwick, N.S. on April 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Dembeck.

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A single rose in memory of Harley Lawrence is shown inside a bus shelter along Commercial Street in Berwick, N.S. on April 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Dembeck.

KENTVILLE, N.S. - The preliminary hearing for two men accused of killing a homeless man in a rural Nova Scotia community has been set for February.

The provincial court set aside seven days for the preliminary inquiry for Daniel Wayne Surette and Kyle David James Fredericks, who each face a charge of first-degree murder in the death of 62-year-old Harley Lawrence.

Lawrence's body was found Oct. 23 in a burned out bus shelter in Berwick, a small town in the Annapolis Valley about 120 kilometres northwest of Halifax.

Fredericks and Surette both appeared in court Thursday but did not speak during the proceedings.

Defence lawyers for both men said in court that they accept there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a second-degree murder trial, but they plan to contest the Crown's argument there is sufficient evidence for a first-degree murder trial.

Ken Greer, the defence lawyer for Fredericks, said outside court that when the preliminary inquiry begins, he would only call evidence related to the issue of whether the men should be tried for first-degree murder.

Police have released few details about the case, and have not said how Lawrence died.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Daniel Wayne Surette was not in court.

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