UPDATED: Pair accused in Loretta Saunders death to stand trial
HALIFAX – A judge has decided the pair accused in the death of Halifax university student Loretta Saunders will stand trial on charges of first-degree murder.
Judge Anne Derrick said in Nova Scotia provincial court Friday that there was enough evidence to send Blake Leggette, 26, and Victoria Henneberry, 28, to trial.
Evidence presented during the preliminary hearing is under a publication ban.
“We certainly did get the result we were looking for,” said Crown attorney Christine Driscoll.
“We were prepared for the other results but we are pleased that is the outcome.”
“The file was well investigated. We have evidence that we feel comfortable putting forward and ultimately a jury is going to determine the outcome. I never make predictions,” Driscoll said when asked how confident she was about the case.
Family members and supporters of Loretta Saunders declined to speak with the media, but Driscoll said she thinks they are happy with the outcome.
“This is what they wanted. I’m sure they will be pleased about it and of course that’s a good thing for the family,” she said.
Terry Sheppard, Leggette’s defence lawyer, said the judge’s decision wasn’t unexpected.
“Given the task, I’m not surprised she returned with the committal that she did,” he said.
“I wouldn’t comment on how confident or unconfident we are. We’d have to take a look at all the evidence. We have to look at how everything panned out at the preliminary inquiry and part of that process there is for the defence to take a look at the evidence and how it’s going to come out.”
“So we have a serious post mortem after this to figure out exactly what our case is going to be,” he said.
Henneberry burst into tears after the judge read her decision while Leggette stared straight ahead and showed no emotion. Inside the courtroom, one audience member could be heard saying ‘yes’.
Saunders was a student at Saint Mary’s University and was working on a thesis on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
She was reported missing in February.
The Inuk woman’s body was founded off a New Brunswick highway about two weeks later.
The case will be back in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Aug. 28.
With files from The Canadian Press
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