Cause of death for two Valley women yet to be released

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Murder suspect returns to hospital, misses court date

TRURO – An autopsy has been completed on two Valley women who were murdered Friday in their Pictou Road home although police are not yet ready to release the details.

Elizabeth MacPherson, 54, and her daughter Brittany, seen here in happier times, re both murdered in their Pictou Road home last Friday.

"Basically we completed the autopsy yesterday (Sunday), however, we're not releasing the cause of death," RCMP media spokesman Sgt. Al LeBlanc told the Truro Daily News on Monday.

"They want to make sure they have all the results back, the reports back... ," he said. "The autopsy is just one aspect of the post mortem."

Elizabeth MacPherson, 54, and her 24-year-old daughter Brittany MacPherson were murdered in their home at 492 Pictou Rd. on Friday.

The elder MacPherson's boyfriend, Gerald Ashley Rushton, 47, who also lived at the address, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the women's deaths. He was found to be in serious condition with self-inflicted wounds when police arrived on the scene after receiving a 911 call shortly after 3 p.m.

MacPherson was a VON nurse while her daughter was studying nursing in university. The bodies of both women and Rushton were found inside the home, LeBlanc said, contrary to some reports in the community that one of the women was found outside the house.

Rushton, who will remain in custody for the immediate future, now is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Truro on Jan. 15.

LeBlanc was unable to confirm a report that he is under suicide watch at the hospital.

Rushton was represented during a brief hearing Monday afternoon by Halifax criminal lawyer Lyle Howe, who said he could not discuss Rushton's injuries because of solicitor/client privilege.

"I'm not really at liberty to get into those details but obviously it's something serious enough to prevent him from coming to court," Howe said. "I guess correctional services are of the view that he can't make it here today so I am just going to be selecting a different return date."

Rushton was formally charged Saturday night after being released from the QEII Health Sciences Centre and transported to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.

LeBlanc said the investigation is continuing at the home.

"We're holding the scene still," he said. "We're still at the house."

Twitter: @tdnharry


Geographic location: Pictou Road

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