Convicted murderer wants court appointed lawyer for appeal in Saunders death – CP

by ahnationtalk on April 28, 2016799 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 28, 2016 

HALIFAX _ A woman convicted of murdering Loretta Saunders is asking Nova Scotia’s highest court to appoint a lawyer to handle her appeal.

Victoria Henneberry represented herself in Nova Scotia’s Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Henneberry pleaded guilty in April 2015 to second-degree murder in the Halifax slaying of Saunders, a young Inuit woman from Labrador whose body was found on the side of a New Brunswick highway in February 2014. Her boyfriend, Blake Leggette, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Henneberry was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years while Leggette was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

Henneberry missed a 30-day deadline to file an appeal of her conviction, but last July was allowed to file a late application.

Nova Scotia Legal Aid denied Henneberry’s application for a lawyer. On Thursday, Justice Elizabeth Van den Eynden reserved her decision on Henneberry’s bid for court-appointed counsel.

In handwritten documents filed with the court, Henneberry says her conviction should be overturned and a new trial ordered on the grounds that she panicked when entering her plea.

“I wasn’t in the right mindset when I made my plea,” Henneberry says in a notice of appeal dated June 25, 2015. “I was distraught, under a great deal of stress and panicked. I’m not guilty of the charge of second-degree murder.”

Henneberry remains incarcerated at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, N.S.

She and Leggette entered their guilty pleas as their murder trial was starting on April 22, 2015.

Two statements of fact submitted to Nova Scotia Supreme Court say the couple was having “financial difficulties” soon after they moved into a sublet room in Saunders’ apartment, which they had found through a Kijiji ad in January 2014.

The documents say the two wanted to get out of Halifax, but give no indication why.

“Mr. Leggette planned to kill Ms. Saunders, take her car and leave the province,” both statements say.

On Feb. 13, 2014, Saunders went to collect rent from the couple but they didn’t have the money, and Henneberry lied when she said she had lost her bank card and needed to contact her bank, according to one of the statements.

Leggette then grabbed Saunders by the throat and choked her, but the young woman fought back, managing to tear through the three plastic bags he pulled over her head.

At one point, Leggette and Saunders fell down. He twice hit her head on the floor and she stopped moving.

Saunders body was found in a hockey bag on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Salisbury, N.B., about two weeks after she was last seen on Feb. 13, 2014.

Leggette and Henneberry were arrested five days later in Harrow, Ont., while driving Saunders’ car. They also had the young woman’s phone, bank card and identification.



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