Laffin pleads guilty to killing sex worker
Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:20PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, March 7, 2013 7:08PM AST
A Dartmouth man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a Halifax sex worker.
Steven Elliot Laffin was supposed to go to trial next month in the murder of Nadine Anne Taylor.
Instead, he entered a guilty plea in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Thursday afternoon, admitting he killed Taylor in July 2010.
The victim’s father says he heard what he knew all along.
“Well, I knew he was guilty. Everyone knew he was guilty,” says Cecil Taylor. “But the point is now there's time he’s got to serve.”
Laffin’s guilty plea comes with an automatic life sentence. The court still has to decide how much time Laffin must serve before being eligible for parole.
“We’re jointly going to recommend 13 years,” says Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn. “The range for these types of things is 13 to 15 years.”
“We look at all of the facts, including the usual range for second-degree murder, all of the particular circumstances of this case, and the level of cooperation, if any, of the defendant,” says Crown prosecutor Susan MacKay.
Laffin led police to a wooded area of East Chezzetcook, N.S. last Friday, where they found remains believed to be those of Taylor’s, although investigators have yet to positively identify the remains.
“It will never go away, but it’s good to know now that she can have a burial anyway, and not just be thrown on the ground like dirt,” says Cecil Taylor.
His 29-year-old daughter vanished after she left her Halifax apartment to use a pay phone in July 2010.
Laffin came to police attention in Taylor's death after he was charged with crimes against another sex worker in 2010. Last fall, he pleaded guilty to charges of assault and confinement in the case of a woman who jumped out of a moving car in Halifax.
The Crown is asking for 12 years on those charges.
The woman - whose identity is protected by a publication ban - was in court today, along with the head of Stepping Stone, an organization that provides outreach services to sex workers.
She says sex workers are vulnerable to violence because of the stigma they face.
“There’s been 19 sex workers since 1985 who have been missing or murdered in Halifax, and that’s just our region alone,” says Rene Ross, executive director of Stepping Stone.
She says it’s important to remember sex workers are people too.
“Nadine was a beautiful force of energy.”
Laffin is due back in court on April 25 to determine parole eligibility and be sentenced on charges of confinement, aggravated assault and uttering threats in a case involving another woman.
Withe files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster and The Canadian Press