WARNING: This story contains graphic details that readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
A court fight over life insurance has revealed for the first time disturbing details about how former Canadian soldier Lionel Desmond fatally shot his mother, wife and daughter before taking his own life in the family’s home in rural Nova Scotia in early 2017.
In a decision released today, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge says the proceeds from Desmond’s life insurance policy should be awarded to his late mother’s estate because evidence collected at the crime scene in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., suggests the former infantryman died before his mother did.
The ruling says the sequence of their deaths is important because the policy named another man – Greg MacEachern – as contingent beneficiary, should Desmond’s mother Brenda die before her son.
Justice Nick Scaravelli says the evidence suggests Desmond used a rifle to shoot both his wife Shanna and their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah in the head.
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The judge also concluded that within a span of 25 minutes, Desmond also shot his mother in the back and then shot himself in the head.
Scaravelli says he was satisfied on a preponderance of evidence that Lionel Desmond died instantly from a massive head wound and that his mother survived him for a short time.