‘This has been a hard road for Ben's family'
© Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News
Dustan Preeper, 24, is led into Truro provincial court on Wednesday for arraignment on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Ben Hare almost two years ago, as well as first-degree murder in the death of Melissa Peacock.
TRURO - A Noel, Hants County man has been charged for the second time with second-degree murder in the death of Ben Hare of Truro.
Dustan Joseph Preeper, 24, was arraigned in Truro provincial court Wednesday afternoon in connection with the Hare homicide.
Preeper was also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Melissa Peacock, a 20-year-old Dartmouth woman who was reported missing on Nov. 9, 2011.
Joshua Michael Preeper, 20, who resides in Kennetcook, was jointly charged with first-degree murder in the Peacock case. The two Preepers are believed to be brothers.
Hare, 26, died after an altercation at a Lyman Street residence in Truro almost two years ago.
"This has been a hard road for Ben's family," said Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil, who attended a news conference in Halifax yesterday where the charges were announced. "Throughout the investigation they were very patient. This arrest will hopefully bring a sense of relief to the community, family and friends of Ben Hare."
On July 8, 2010, Truro Police Service responded to a report of an altercation at a multi-unit apartment building at 67 Lyman St. Upon their arrival, police found Hare dead outside.
Preeper was originally charged with second-degree murder shortly after the incident, however, charges were dropped that September. He was arrested in Halifax on Tuesday on the new charges.
Over the course of the investigation into Hare's death, MacNeil said the police department was aware of a joint RCMP/Halifax Regional Police file of a missing person - that of Peacock.
"As a result of their investigation, our suspect (in the Hare murder) was also their suspect," he said. "There were some similarities in the two cases so we sent investigators to help with that case. We worked together and shared information and we were both successful."
Peacock was last seen leaving her residence Nov. 7 and cell phone records show she was in a vehicle heading north on Highway 354 after midnight on Nov. 8. Her last location was Gore, Hants County.
It's believed the two Preepers knew Peacock.
The information laid in court yesterday jointly charged the two Preepers with Peacock's murder on Nov. 8, 2011, in Upper Rawdon.
Nova Scotia RCMP Criminal Operations Officer Chief Supt. Brian Brennan said during the news conference that human remains the Mounties believe to be Peacock's were located on Tuesday on a rural property in Upper Stewiacke.
An autopsy will be performed to confirm the identity, said Brennan.
He said evidence led police to the site of the remains, but he wouldn't reveal any more details.
In February, officers searched a residence on Douglas Road in Centre Rawdon as part of the investigation.
During their court appearance, the two Preepers were remanded into custody pending any bail applications. Dustan has been remanded until Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m., while Joshua will appear on Aug. 1 at 9:30 a.m.
As he was escorted into the courthouse, Dustan, dressed in a striped collared shirt, shorts and sneakers, spit on a newspaper photographer. Less than an hour later, as he left the courtroom, he gave a slight wave to a trio who sat watching the proceedings.
Joshua, wearing a white muscle shirt, black pants and sneakers without laces, didn't acknowledge anyone in court.
In connection to the Hare homicide, a 24-year-old Truro woman was arrested outside the provincial courthouse yesterday morning.
Police haven't released her name or the charges that are anticipated.
"She was a suspect in the Hare homicide from the get-go," said MacNeil. It's anticipated charges will be laid today.
Following the news conference, Ruth Slauenwhite, Peacock's mother, thanked police in a statement for "bringing to justice those accused in (Melissa's) death."
"While we are still coming to terms with this loss, the support shown by police throughout the investigation has been tremendous," the statement said.
Justice Minister Ross Landry said information received through a provincial rewards program assisted in the Peacock investigation. The amount of the reward, he said, is based upon a conviction but could be up to $150,000.
With files from the Canadian Press and Metro Halifax