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Former fire captain accused in wife's death bypasses preliminary hearing, heads to Superior Court

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A former Brampton fire captain accused of murdering his wife last year appeared alongside his lawyer inside the Collingwood, Ont., courthouse Tuesday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing, opting instead to move directly to Superior Court.

James Schwalm was arrested on February 2, 2023, and later charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a body following the death of his wife, Ashley Milnes. He has been behind bars since his arrest.

Schwalm was arrested after his wife's body was discovered on January 26, 2023, inside her burned SUV, which had crashed down an embankment off Arrowhead Road near Highway 26 in The Blue Mountains.

Court documents obtained by CTV News allege he killed his wife inside their Collingwood home sometime between January 25 and 26, then moved and burned her body before it was found burned in the fiery wreck.

The couple had been married for more than a decade and had two children.

A first-degree murder conviction comes with a life sentence and no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

Schwalm's next court appearance is scheduled for May .

The allegations against him have not been tested in court.

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