The parents of Jennifer Horne were relieved trial dates for her alleged killers were finally set Thursday, but no matter how much time passes before justice is served, they know their daughter won’t soon be forgotten.
Still, they must wait another year before Desmond Maguire, 38, and Ashley Haley, 21, stand trial on first-degree murder, as the start date is set for June 7, 2010.
“Nobody will forget Jennifer,” Kevin Horne, the 20-year-old murder victim’s father, told reporters outside of a downtown Halifax courtroom.
“We’re hurt. Jennifer was a sweet, innocent girl. She didn’t deserve this.”
The young Cole Harbour woman turned up dead on New Year’s Eve 2007. Police discovered her naked body stuffed in the bedroom closet of an apartment on Dartmouth’s Lawrence Street, where the common-law couple accused of killing her lived.
Horne said Jennifer’s loved ones just want to get the trial “over with,” adding he hoped other grieving families won’t have to wade through the court system for so long.
“It’s not easy,” he said, as mother Susanne Andrews stood by his side, clutching a photo of their daughter dressed in pink and smiling at the camera. “We all know where these two belong – what else can someone say?”
Inside the Nova Scotia Supreme Court room, Jennifer’s supporters listened patiently as Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy pushed lawyers to set aside four weeks for the trial by jury.
Crown Attorney John Scott, Haley’s defence lawyer Kevin Burke and Maguire’s current counsel Pat Atherton eventually settled on June 7. The court also scheduled two weeks starting next March for voir dire.
Jennifer’s relatives, wearing white ribbons, were only a few metres away from Maguire and Haley when they were escorted into the courtroom. But five sheriffs were also there, including one man who sat between the accused killers and pulled the hood of Haley’s green parka down when she tried to shield her face.