Inuk woman’s killer appeals 2015 murder conviction
Victoria Henneberry, convicted in death of Nunatsiavut Inuk Loretta Saunders, wants second degree murder conviction overturned
Victoria Henneberry, a Nova Scotia woman convicted of second degree murder for the part she played in the 2014 killing of the Nunatsiavut Inuk woman Loretta Saunders, appeared before a Nova Scotia appeal court panel April 12 in an attempt to get that conviction overturned, the Canadian Press has reported.
At the hearing, held before a panel of three Nova Scotia appeal court judges, Henneberry, now 31, represented herself.
That’s because, in a decision issued April 28, 2016, Justice Elizabeth Van den Eynden of the Nova Scotia appeal court ruled Henneberry’s stated grounds for appeal do not justify giving her a government-appointed lawyer.
Van den Eynden therefore denied Henneberry’s application for legal aid. The following day, according to media reports, Henneberry lost her appeal.
A court document obtained by Nunatsiaq News says Henneberry wants her murder conviction thrown out for three reasons:
• she did not appreciate the nature of the charges when she pleaded guilty on April 22, 2015 and did not intend to admit guilt;
• there was no direct evidence, only circumstantial evidence, of the part she played in the murder of Saunders; and,
• her agreed statement of facts contains untrue admissions.
Van den Eynden’s ruling also said Henneberry wanted a lawyer to help her obtain medical records pertaining to her mental health.
Henneberry and boyfriend Blake Legette, now 28, killed Saunders on Feb. 13, 2014 after Saunders went to collect rent they owed her for a room in her apartment that Saunders was renting to them.
An agreed statement of facts filed in court said Henneberry persuaded Saunders to stay and then watched as Legette strangled and suffocated Saunders before smashing her head onto the floor.
The couple stole Saunders’ car, dumped her body by the side of the highway near Salisbury, N.B. and were arrested in Harrow, Ont. on Feb. 18.
There, Ontario police found them with the murdered woman’s ID, bank card, phone and car.
Legette pleaded guilty to first degree murder on April 22, 2015 and on April 29, 2015, was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
Henneberry pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years.