On the scheduled date for the commencement of the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the murder case involving US nationals Jonathan Scott Lehrer and Robert Snyder Jr., proceedings were unable to begin as one of the defendants tested positive for COVID-19.

The pair are accused of murdering French Canadian couple and eco-resort owners Dominique Marchand and Daniel Langlois between November 29, 2023, and December 2, 2023, at Bois Cotlette in Soufriere.

Upon the case's return to Court on March 15, Police Sergeant Perdrina Dupigny informed the Court that upon her arrival at the Dominica State Prison for the defendants, she was notified that Snyder had tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, Lehrer, his co-accused, was undergoing testing due to their proximity to housing.

Trinidadian attorney Keith Scotland, who appeared on behalf of the prosecution and Dominica's Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Sherma Dalrymple, informed the Court of their intention to proceed with the case through paper committal. During the committal process, the witnesses' statements and documentary evidence are tendered to the Court without the witnesses having to testify at the PI.

Kings Counsel Andrew Pilgrim, who has joined the defence team, requested disclosure. The prosecution stated that it would be available within 8 to 10 weeks.

Consequently, Chief Magistrate Candia Carrette-George adjourned the matter to July 16, 2024.

On December 6, 2023, Lehrer and Synder made their first appearance in Court, charged with the murder of Marchand and Langlois. On December 1, 2023, police discovered the charred remains of two individuals in a vehicle in the Soufriere area at about 7:00 a.m., believed to be those of the French Canadian couple who had been reported as missing.

The burnt vehicle discovered also aligns with the description of the resort owner's car, police sources further revealed. Unfortunately, extreme fire conditions rendered the bodies unidentifiable, compelling investigators to rely on circumstantial evidence linking them to the missing couple. During the police investigation, the investigator had taken into custody Lehrer, his wife, Snider, and a Dominican man. However, after the investigation, only Lehrer and Snider Jr. were charged.

Langlois and Lehrer were involved in a heated dispute over the use of the Morne Rouge Public Road, which cuts through the Bois Cotlette estate.