Police name main suspects in Laura Jessome case
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 1:12PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2013 7:00PM AST
Police have named the two men they believe murdered a young Cape Breton woman last year, even though the suspects have not been charged.
In court documents filed in December, police identify 37-year-old Thomas Barrett and 21-year-old Morgan James MacNeil as the main suspects in the Laura Jessome case.
Jessome’s remains were found in a hockey bag, floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge on May 25, 2012.
Police have never released how she died.
Barrett and MacNeil, both of Glace Bay, are currently in custody at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility on other violent, but unrelated, charges.
Barrett is accused of the attempted murder of another woman, while MacNeil was charged with robbing a Sydney bank and a jewelry story in May.
Last month, police charged two other Glace Bay men in connection with Jessome’s murder.
Robert Edwin Matheson, 49, and Brian Augustine Deruelle, 37, are charged with accessory after the fact in connection with her death.
The pair is identified in court papers prepared by police. There are claims contained within the same document that Barrett and MacNeil murdered Jessome.
“It is normal, when you are laying the accessory charge, to name who they are assisting,” says chief Crown prosecutor Dan MacRury. “That is a normal charge that you see on accessory. As you are aware, you don’t have to prove the person committed murder to prosecute the accessory.”
The lawyer representing Barrett on unrelated charges says he was surprised to see his client named as one of Jessome’s killers, as he hasn’t been charged in the case.
“I think it is uncommon,” says Tony Mozvik. “I have not heard of any other examples where it has happened. Obviously it is permissible, they have chosen to go this route, and I am sure they have their own reasons for doing that.”
The fact that Jessome’s suspected killers have been named in court documents and are already in custody may be an indication that the investigation is nearing a conclusion and that murder charges could soon be laid.
“I can’t speculate on those details. It remains a very active investigation,” says Cape Breton Regional Police spokeswoman Desiree Vassallo. “We have a large team of people dedicated to it. We will continue to investigate until we have identified and charged all the individuals responsible.”
Today would have marked Jessome’s 22nd birthday.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Randy MacDonald
Laura Jessome's remains were found in a hockey bag, floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge on May 25, 2012.