02/15/2013 11:52 EST | Updated 04/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Alberta couple accused of disabled woman's death has hearing delayed

The case of an Alberta couple accused of manslaughter and unlawful confinement in the death of a developmentally delayed woman has been put over until next month.

Denise and Michael Scriven face charges after Denise Scriven’s sister, Betty Gagnon, was found dead in the front seat of a truck east of Edmonton in November 2009.

“We are in some difficulty. Our clients are anxious for an end to these proceedings. We are still hopeful we can resolve matters,” Laura Stevens, defence lawyer for Denise and Michael Scriven, told the court Friday, when it was determined the hearing would be moved to March 1.

Stevens did not specify what the difficulties were, and asked Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman to help with negotiations. He agreed to meet with the Scrivens later this month.

Gagnon, 48, was legally blind and described as having the mind of a five-year-old. The medical examiner found she died from blunt force injury to the head.

Court documents accuse the couple of keeping Gagnon locked inside a number of locations on the their property, including a chicken hutch, a basement and an unheated school bus with no toilet or running water.

Both are also accused of:

- Assault.

- Failing to provide the necessities of life.