The preliminary hearing into the first-degree murder of a teenager whose body was found in a field in Yamachiche had to be suspended in a Trois-Rivieres courtroom Tuesday morning.

René Kègle is charged with the premeditated murder of Ophélie Martin-Cyr, 19, and the attempted murder of a 21-year-old woman.

Kègle was not able to appear in court Tuesday because he had allegedly been beaten at Orsainville detention centre Monday evening.

The Crown and Kègle’s defence attorney were in court on Tuesday to determine if the proceedings could still begin in his absence at a later date, which requires the accused’s consent.

Four days of hearings had been scheduled for the preliminary inquiry. 

Martin-Cyr was discovered by a passerby on Oct. 10, not long after she had been reported missing. She had been shot in the back and left to die.

A day later, police issued warrants for Kègle, 38, and Francis Martel, 31, for first-degree murder. Kègle was tracked down and arrested in Repentigny shortly after, while Martel was arrested in Montreal.

According to police, Kègle, Martel, Martin-Cyr and a 21-year-old woman were in a car when Kègle tried to kill one woman, firing at her multiple times with a restricted firearm.

The 21-year-old woman was able to escape by jumping out of the moving vehicle after she was shot, and although she was seriously injured she survived the incident. That woman is the one who reported her friend, Martin-Cyr, missing.

Also on Oct. 10, the burned bodies of Steve Lamy and Jean-Christophe Gilbert were found in a burnt vehicle on a vacant lot in the nearby Sainte-Marthe-du-Cap area of Trois-Rivières. 

Kègle is also accused of both of those murders, but will face those accusations a separate proceeding because other suspects are involved.

- with files from CTV Montreal