Man charged in two Nova Scotia murders victim of group stabbing inside Dartmouth jail

Published on June 22, 2014
Thomas Ted Barrett of Glace Bay, charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths Laura Catherine Jessome and Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon, arrives at Nova Scotia provincial court in Halifax on Feb. 2, 2013.
The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

DARTMOUTH - A Glace Bay man facing charges in the murders of two young women is now in hospital with life-threatening injuries after an attack at the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Burnside.

A source confirms to Metro Halifax that Thomas Ted Barrett, 39, was stabbed several times by five other inmates in the day room at the correctional facility late Saturday afternoon.

A release from Halifax Regional Police states the victim was rushed to hospital with injuries described as life-threatening.

On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Barb Saunders said there was word on the man’s prognosis.

“Still in serious condition, I haven’t had any updates other than that,” she said.

Saunders couldn’t reveal the man’s identity or why he was in the jail.

Barrett, who was set to stand trial in Dartmouth on Monday on assault charges, is facing two counts of second-degree murder in Cape Breton related to the deaths of Laura Jessome in 2012 and Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon in 2006.

Jessome, 21, disappeared in May 2012 and her remains were found inside a hockey bag floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge several weeks later.

MacKinnon, also 21, disappeared in 2006. Her remains were discovered by hunters just outside Glace Bay in 2008.

Barrett is also facing a slew of other charges, and secured a lawyer just last month. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in July on the murder charges, as well as unrelated charges of robbery and armed robbery.

Saunders said it’s not clear at this point what prompted five other inmates to turn on the victim, adding investigators haven’t been able to interview the man yet.

The five accused are facing a variety of charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Saunders said they’ll appear in Dartmouth provincial court at a later date, which hasn’t been set.

“Where they’re already in custody, it’s a little different procedure,” she said. “It’s not like they have to appear in court (Monday) morning like they normally do.”