Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Two People Plead Guilty in Halifax to Murder in Death of Loretta Saunders

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Two People Plead Guilty in Halifax to Murder in Death of Loretta Saunders

Article excerpt

Guilty pleas in Loretta Saunders case


HALIFAX - More than a year after the remains of a young, promising university student were found beside a highway in rural New Brunswick, two people from Halifax pleaded guilty to murder and for the first time a detailed description of how Loretta Saunders died became public.

But amid the gruesome details of the 26-year-old's death in February 2014, the motive for the slaying remains a mystery.

Blake Leggette and Victoria Henneberry were both charged with first-degree murder last year and they both pleaded not guilty at the time. As their trial was starting Wednesday, Leggette changed his plea to guilty and Henneberry pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.

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 they don't say 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 the statement.

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.

"Ms. Henneberry remained during the struggle," the documents say.

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. …

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