04/22/2014 02:25 EDT | Updated 06/22/2014 01:59 EDT

Preliminary hearing date set for couple charged with murder of Loretta Saunders

HALIFAX - Four days have been set aside in July for a preliminary hearing for two people charged with the murder of Loretta Saunders.

Blake Leggette, 26, and his girlfriend, Victoria Henneberry, 28, were charged with first-degree murder on Feb. 27, two weeks after Saunders disappeared from Halifax.

They did not appear in provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday when the date for the preliminary hearing to begin was scheduled for July 21.

Several friends and relatives of Saunders sat in the front row of the courtroom. Saunders's cousin said someone from the family will be there each time the case is in court.

"It's important for us to have family representation," Lisa White said outside court. "We're going to be there every step of the way."

Leggette and Henneberry were charged with first-degree murder on Feb. 27 after Saunders body was found in a wooded area off the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick.

She disappeared from Halifax on Feb. 13.

Police allege the 26-year-old woman was killed the day she was last seen at an apartment she once shared with the two accused.

Saunders, an Inuit woman from Labrador, was a student at Saint Mary's University in Halifax and focused her studies on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Blake Leggette is 25.