09/04/2014 09:27 EDT | Updated 11/04/2014 05:59 EST

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

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 on Thursday, Sept. 4 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 Surette, 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 that moved Sept. 4 wrongly said Ken Greer was the lawyer for Kyle David James Fredericks.