1. David Leggette
Yesterday, the courts published Justice Joshua Arnold’s ruling about what evidence could be admitted in the murder trial of David Leggette and Victoria Henneberry, the couple charged with murdering Loretta Saunders.
The evidence hearing was held in January and February, and Arnold issued his verbal decision last week. Just as the murder trial was beginning Thursday, Leggette and Henneberry pleaded guilty. The evidence ruling goes a long way to explaining why they pleaded guilty.
Leggette is 26 years old. His education is limited to completion of grade nine. Leggette has no criminal record and prior to being remanded on these charges, he had never been in a prison. Leggette was a very inexperienced inmate. Leggette has a fascination with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
According to the evidence on this voir dire, Darcy Kory (“Kory”) is a 47-year-old experienced inmate, who has spent approximately 17 years in prison. Within a day or so of his arrival at the Burnside Jail, Kory made arrangements with Leggette to become cellmates. Leggette was then housed in the Burnside Jail with Kory. Kory told Leggette that he had some sort of affiliation with the Hells Angels. Kory attempted to be a mentor for Leggette during their time together as cellmates, not for altruistic reasons but with a strong ulterior motive. Kory is writing a book about his prison experiences and wanted Leggette to provide details about his life and crimes for a chapter in the book.
On April 8, 2014, the prison guards at the Burnside Jail were conducting a general search for a broken mop handle which could be converted to a weapon, known in prison terms as a “shank”. During the course of their search, the guards discovered 35 pages of writings in the cell that housed Leggette and Kory. Part of these writings appear to be a complete confession by Leggette to his involvement in the murder of Loretta Saunders. Another part of these writings describes a plan by Leggette to entirely blame Henneberry for the murder.
The decision reprints portions of Leggette’s writing. They provide a window into Leggette’s life and thinking:
My name is Blake William, David Leggette, I was born on April 1, 1988 in Halifax N.S. From the time I was born till the age of six, I was fatherless. I was in a foster home, had multiple different men in my life that were involved with my mother the came and went, without a thought of me. One man in particular fathered my step-brother, and was the first man to abuse me. I believe I was 4. There was a room in the house that I was not allowed in, well being curious and wanting something one night I opened the door, just to have it slammed in my face, later that night is when he used a rolled up t.v. guide, wraped in electrical tape to beat my back, black and blue, coincidently enough it was the same thing he used to beat our dog, who was named Dillon and was a rotwhieller.
He cheated on my mom with my mothers best friend, which ended the relationship. The next man is who fathered my step-sister. Who other than being a drunk. no bad memories that I can recall. At the age of six, I was told to speak to a man on the phone, that was my real father. By the age of seven, he moved my mother, her boyfriend, sister, brother, and I all to Calgary, AB. Paid for the whole trip, including the rent, and filled the cupboards with groceries.
Soon after, within weeks, I moved in with my father, and the mental abuse started. Convincing me my mother was no good, she didn’t teach me how to shower or bathe properly, nor did she teach me how to wipe my ass, he had me at the age of seven, had me calling her a bitch, and telling her to fuck off and I never wanted to speak to her again. Then once he somehow had custody over me, which till this day I have never heard the truth. or so I think, the controling, abusive, physical punishments started. Belts, fist’s, switch’s, fireplace poker sticks, I had it all. School pictures with make up on to hide my blackeye’s. In the hospital due to a soft spot on the top of my head due to him picking me up and slamming me on the ground. Another hospital moment was from being punched in the stomach till I puked up fluids, and green fluids until I needed to got the hospital for I.V. fluid because I was dehydrated. When I was twelve I moved back with my mom. At 14 I moved back with dad because it wasn’t working with her, I was damaged and angry by that point. So I moved to halifax and met my new step mom at the christmas of 2003, I found out my father was affiliated with Hells Angels, is also the time when I started smoking marijuana.
On the 23rd of February, five day’s after my arrest, I arrived at the correctional facility in dartmouth. With everything that has happened, up to this point, i.e. involment with Victoria’s uncle, who is a member of the Hells Angels, knowing of three other people who have died, because they were a threat to Victoria, and wittnessing Victoria murder Loretta, and being threatened by Victoria, on multiple occasions that she could have me shot, I feared now more than ever that this could happen. This being the reason I put Loretta’s body in the hockey bag, and packed up a few of our thing’s and took Loretta’s car, to leave the province, on the way, dumping her body on the side of the highway. I feared that if I called the cop’s and had her arrested, she would surely send her uncle after me, so I figured the best chance I had was to keep her safe, and out of jail for as long as possible, knowing in the meantime that we would get caught, and sooner or later go to jail. I took that time, (the drive to Harrow, Ont.) to come to terms with the fact that I would have to make the decision to take the wrap for Victoria, and spend the rest of my life behind bars. I thought it would have been the smartest thing to do, and that I would be respected by her uncle enough, that he would spare my life, since I was doing the honourable thing.
Time passed, and [Kory] came to tell me he was writing a book, of his life, the people he met, and his experience’s in the system, and asked if I would like to add to it. So I agreed and decided to write. I wrote point’s of my life history, to help him to get to know me better. I also wrote the happening’s of went on the day of Feb. 13, the day Loretta died. I wrote my fake confession. Of course Darcy read it all, and when he came across the part’s, which I spoke of Hells Angels, he asked me about it, so I broke down and told him everything.
He ended up telling me how he has been an affiliate of the organization, going on 30 years now, and explained how certain aspect’s of how her uncle portraid himself were not common characteristics of how people of the organization act. We both came to the conclusion that for 2 years,Victoria has been using the uncle who is a powerful member of HA, as a ploy to control me, right down to the part of telling me my father has an $80000 hit out on him, because he is a rat, and convincing me she had three people murdered by her say so. As I said, his 30 years affiliation has given him the knowledge to say he knows without a doubt in his mind she is lying. So he stated to me “you have nothing to fear, and you most definately should not be throwing your life way to protect her, instead write the truth”. So I did.
But while he had intended to tell the court that Henneberry had killed Saunders, Leggette actually wrote that he was the murderer:
Loretta Saunders enters the apartment, and claims she is their for the rent, Victoria stated she lost her bank card and I.D. Victoria proceeds to the bedroom to make a phone call to the bank, to see about getting a new card to be able to get the money out of the account. Which is difficult to do, almost impossible without ID. At this point I am talking with Loretta about nothing but chit chat things. Loretta claims that she needs dishs because Yulchin is making a nice dinner, and proceeds to collect dishes. She is getting annoyed claims “is the rent even available” to Victoria, I responded with yes.
Loretta sits on the couch messaging on her phone.
I walk into the room to speak with Victoria. I say, “should I do it”. Victoria says “you don’t have the balls!”
That made me angry, and I said really, ok.
I walked out to the living room where Loretta was sitting on the couch, came up behind her all in one motion grabbed her by the throat and proceeded to choke her, she kicked off the couch and we ended up in the dining room, while I constantly had her by the throat. For some reason it wasn’t working, In my mind once I started I shouldnt stop. I asked Victoria for assistance, first with a plastic bag, Loretta put up a fight and tore 3 different bags I tried to use. Finaly I hit her head twice on the floor to knock her out which worked. I proceeded to wrap her head in plastic wrap to make sure she was actually dead.
After she was officially passed away, I proceeded to place her in the hockey bag, cleaned up her Id gave Victoria her phone. I proceeded to get the car ready, taking the tires out, and placing them in front of the car, and cleaning out garbage. Carried her down the hallway, into the elevator to the main floor. Went outside, placed her on the sidewalk, and proceeded to get the car to bring to the body, (Dead weight is heavey). Parked the car, and proceeded to bring our stuff that Victoria and I packed to the car. Last but not least Victoria and our cat and I got in the car and left.
In another version of the murder, Leggette spoke of his emotional state:
…I was able to stand and breath, and look and allow to sink in what I did. I remember thinking I must be crazy because I felt relieved, stress free, all my anger from my childhood, and the last 2 years with Victoria all disappeared. I felt happy. Then action needed to take place, first I cleaned up the mess of the kicked over coffee table, luckily I had cigarettes to calm nerves, but believe me all I wanted was a joint, and couldn’t wait to get some weed. Then we began packing our cloths, and since we had Victoria’s cat, (Ceo) we needed the litter box and food. Last but not leased I picked Loretta into her grey hockey bag, yet she was the first into the car.
At this point I started to get nervous, because there was know way to load the car without being seen on camera, but I proceeded anyway. Packing the vehicle was fast, before we left Victoria had a worried look on her face. She said to me “I’m scared of you now, what if you do the same to me?” I responded, “Trust me, I love you, you are the reason I’m doing this, for our future, if I was to do it to you, I would have already.” I could tell she was hesitant, but kissed me anyway. Even that kiss, I knew it was the end and of our relationship would never be the same. I felt it.
Leggette then lays out his plan to blame Henneberry:
I have completed my defense, on the matter at hand. Victoria’s true color’s are becoming more clearer day by day. She has had this situation planned for quite a while, at least, I mean to get rid of me, letting me where a Nomads Ontario sweater, just to tell me she did it to get me shot . . . I’ve been reassured that family or not, the fact that she is talking about things she shouldn’t make’s her a liability to the organization, and her uncle should be steering clear away from the situation. I just hope nothing change’s between her uncle and I…
Darcy say’s this is going to start getting very serious. Lyle [Howe, Leggett’s lawyer] has gotten a death threat already to drop the case. But I am focusing on what I want and looking out for myself, since that is what she is doing. I don’t care if she isn’t the one who actually killed Loretta, it’s what I will hopefully make everyone believe. That is how I will make her pay for the last 3 years.
Basically I am growing impatient, I’m angry at myself for Killing Loretta, and the fact I’m going to be blaming Victoria for it, so I don’t do life in prison, but as Darcy say’s she deserve’s it.
Leggette also wrote that he wanted to kill again:
In the end, I murdered a woman, and even now as I did that day, it does not bother me, I think I wanted to do it, as much as Victoria wanted me too.
If it wouldn’t have been Loretta Saunders, it would have been someone else, and she probably won’t be the last, I struck a nerve that afternoon, a thirst, it will never be a woman, that I can promise, it will be someone who deserves it, and that someone knows who it is, someone who has moulded me into the person I am today. Darcy say’s I put the wrong one in the bag, but I think she will hurt more, knowing after everything she has done to me, I’ve done this to her.
There are lots of details about the day-to-day violence that is life in jail. Leggette feared Henneberry’s cousin, a member of the Hells Angels who was also an inmate, for instance, and had decided he needed to attack the cousin before the cousin attacked him.
I’ll spare you the legal arguments, but Arnold ruled that Leggette’s writings could be admitted as evidence. That seems to have tipped the balance for Leggette, and he pleaded guilty.
Reading Leggette’s writings is depressing. I can’t help but think he’ll end up getting murdered in prison.
2. Bill 1
Bill 1 is an attack on organized labour, writes Moira Donovan.
This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here.
3. Cape Breton University
The Board of Governors of Cape Breton University yesterday approved a budget plan that increases tuition by three percent this year and by 5.9 percent in each of the following three years. The province has given universities a one-year exemption to the three percent cap to tuition increases this year, but says the cap will apply again in future years; neither the Cape Breton Post nor Chronicle Herald articles about yesterday’s vote explain how the university can exceed the three percent tuition increase cap in future years.
In addition to the tuition increase, “the university also plans to cut five to 10 per cent of its staff and faculty and impose a three-year wage freeze,” says the Chronicle Herald.
As I noted yesterday, even a three percent increase in tuition exceeds the inflation rate, which sits below two percent, so the “capped” tuition year after year is shifting the burden of university education costs onto graduates’ debt loads. Increases of nearly six percent year after year will make Cape Breton University a less viable option for students from the already struggling island.
“Haligonians Halley Davies and Martin Hellmich took first place in an international competition to celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope,” reports the CBC:
The contest, called Ode to Hubble, was put on by the Hubble and the European Space Agency.
Their video was found to be the most innovative, scientifically accurate and unique video. Their prize is a photo signed by astronauts and astronomers who have worked on the Hubble, as well as a piece of the telescope’s solar panel that provided it with power.
5. Hipster heaven
So, what’s this project? SEVEN BAYS BOULDERING is a 6000sq. ft. facility on Gottingen st. that hosts a 120 ft long bouldering wall and a licensed café with plenty of comfortable seating.
The bouldering: We believe a bouldering wall is only as good as what you put on it. Seven Bays will have new boulders every week, a wide selection of holds from around the world, and a ton of volumes to keep the climbing fresh and exciting. We are extremely pleased to be working with the very talented routesetter and climbing guru Tonde Katiyo on the routesetting program, and training the Seven Bays setting crew. The wall design was a collaboration between Tonde and B121, a Canadian wall building company.
The café: Bouldering is just as much about the people you meet as it is about the climbing itself. Our hope is that Seven Bays will become a hub for climbers to meet and exchange, or just a great place to do homework, “work” work, or just read a book, or better yet a guidebook! We’ll be serving great coffee, local draught beer, smoothies and a few tasty dishes! A perfect place to share a bite and a beer after a good climbing session at the gym, or even better, after a great day of bouldering outside!
I guess I should hurry up and drown my sorrows at The Landing before the hipsters destroy downtown Dartmouth too.
6. Pooper Scoopers
WE will do the most unwanted cleaning job out there! Clean up dog poop!
$15 dollars per lawn. We will do a great job and even take the bag with us for $2.50/ea.
My name is Justin. My friend Jared and I live in Cole Harbour/ Astral Drive and have been doing lawn work and snow removal for years in this area. We have references and are very reliable.
Stephen Archibald reviews his many experiences with fire, including the Spryfield Fire of 2009, which came perilously close to his home.
I lived for 15 years in northern California, where fire is a normal feature of the landscape. Every year fires break out in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and race up the canyons to the ridge tops, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of grassland and forest. A friend once was evacuated from his home, and he and his wife sat in the dark in their car on the opposite ridge, watching the flames run along the road to their house. They heard the Pop! Pop! Pop! and saw an extra burst of flame as the propane tanks outside each house exploded. One of those Pop!s was their own home.
I once worked for a lawyer who specialized in fires that started along power lines. He determined that Pacific Gas & Electric had skimped on clearing the trees away from the lines, and this would spark fires. It was my job to sit in the property office with a map of the burn area, and compile a list of all the property owners who had suffered losses. Quite often the loss would be their homes and outbuildings, but even if they didn’t lose their homes, the loss of timber on 20 or 40 acres could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once identified, the lawyer would collect the owners together to file a class-action lawsuit against PG&E.
In the course of this work I learned a bit about how to identify the ignition point of a fire. It’s not difficult. Usually, you’ll find the fire started at the edge of the burn area, and spread from that point either by going uphill or pushed along by the wind. It only becomes tricky when the wind changes direction and the fire burns back over the burned area, past the ignition point.
So a couple of days after the Spryfield Fire, I hiked along the perimeter of the burn area and quickly discovered the source of the fire. Here’s how I wrote about it in The Coast:
Following along the western bank of McIntosh Run in a northwesterly direction, I eventually came across what is probably the cause of the fire….
It was an incredibly stupid place to build a campfire — in the hollowed out ground left from a rotting tree stump — but I can see how someone would want to camp at the site. It’s on a rise over the stream, and looking north (upstream), McIntosh Run spreads out into a more lake-like vista. I could hear the creek burbling as it narrowed below me.
The fire pit was about ten feet from where the burn area begins, and fans out from there. I could see how the fire matched the terrain in a wind blowing to the south from the fire pit.
It was clear to me that the fire was left unattended, and the wind carried embers from the fire pit onto the dry grass about ten feet away, where it flared up out of control. Here’s the picture I took of the ignition point:
After I published the results of my investigation, the Department of Natural Resources released a statement saying, basically, that I was full of crap and they were going to hire professional fire investigators who knew what they were doing and could do the job right. They conducted their own investigation, and then six months later announced that:
The first fire, on April 29, was caused by an unextinguished campfire pit on the west bank on MacIntosh Run, north of Roaches Pond. The fire flared up the next day and, pushed by strong winds, resulted in a blaze that travelled towards Purcells Cove Road.
2. Halifax Liberals
Rachel Brighton says the new changes announced for film production support look a lot like what was in place before the NDP government amped up the tax credits. Well, maybe.
But then Brighton goes off the rails:
My understanding is that film is predominantly a Halifax industry, with occasional excursions to scenic rural locations. This in part explains why the backlash against the restructured film tax credit was so strong because so many industry employees and contractors reside in Liberal seats in Halifax.
Believe it or not, not everything is a conspiracy against rural areas.
3. Cranky letter of the day
At a recent Shelburne Town Council meeting the topic of ATV’s using the CNR corridor trail was discussed. It was not so many years ago that corridor was used by ATVs.I would suggest that most citizens — particularly adjacent landowners — will not have fond memories of that time period. With good judgment the council of the day opted to develop the corridor as a walkway to the exclusion of motorized vehicles. I think they are referred to as “Greenways”.It is widely recognized that Greenways promote tourism, enhance property values, encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide opportunities for an appreciation for the flora and fauna of the area.The list could go on.The owners of ATVs have large investments in the purchase of their machines and they want a place to use them. These folks require an area to use their vehicles and pay taxes the same as everyone else and request space.It should be clear that the corridor cannot be a Greenway and at the same time an ATV trail. The useable surface of the corridor is too narrow to accommodate the two uses. Further it is evident that great effort and money has been spent to create the healthy experience that has been made available for all to use. And it is being used year round.This section of the corridor is not out in the back forty but passes through a residential area. Lets strive to protect it!Loman M. Ayer, Shelburne
I’ve many times written about the annoyance of advertising everywhere. The city wants to raise money by blaring commercials on television screens in rec centres and such, and the “free wifi” that will soon come to downtown won’t be free at all — it will be paid for with advertising pitches.
Our society has gotten it in our collective head that things paid for via advertising are “free.” They’re not. The advertising on newspaper websites, on bus shelters, in the middle of podcasts, in airport lounges, sprawled across barroom walls and ceilings, and on every other bit of public and private space that can be auctioned off has a very real toll.
Philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Matthew Crawford’s new book, The World Beyond Your Head: How to Flourish in an Age of Distraction, details that toll. As he wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times:
Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.
What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it.
This past week, Crawford spoke at the London School of Economics, and his talk was recorded and published as part of the LSE’s podcast series. You can find it here.
Sort of related, I had to go buy a carton of milk this morning, and so was waiting in the checkout line at the drugstore as each person in front of me was asked about a some sort of points card that no doubt collects private information, spins it through supercomputers that analyze it then monetize it through yet more targeted advertising. And then each customer is asked to donate to charity in what is probably a tax scam for the drug store chain and will inevitably be used for its own bogus advertising campaign.
Can’t a guy just buy a carton of milk without being monetized eight fucking ways to Sunday?
In the harbour
Resolute sails to sea
Morning File takes Sundays off. See you Monday.