HALIFAX – Justice was served in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Wednesday, as a pair of brothers were sentenced for their roles in two high profile murders.
Dustan Joseph Preeper, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2010 death of Ben Hare.
Preeper also pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Melissa Dawn Peacock.
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Dustan’s younger brother, 22-year-old Joshua Michael Preeper was also charged with first-degree murder in the death Melissa Dawn Peacock. But, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.
“There’s a lot of evidence, so they had no choice really,” said Rufus Peacock, Melissa Peacock’s grandfather.
“It’s a long time waiting for it,” added Reg Hare, Ben Hare’s uncle.
The court heard Hare was found dead outside a Lyman Street apartment building in Truro on July 8, 2010.
Court records show he was beaten with a baseball bat to death by Dustan Preeper, after Hare initiated a fight with him.
“He was bleeding from his face, his neck, his back, everything. It didn’t all start… Dusty didn’t go looking for trouble,” said Tiny White, Preeper’s aunt.
More than 100 text messages were exchanged between Melissa Peacock and Dustan Preeper the night she died.
The court was told Peacock went with the Preeper brothers to a party in Upper Rawdon.
The 20-year-old was stabbed multiple times by Dustan Preeper – sworn testimony suggesting he believed she was going to steal his car. The court also learned Dustan poured gasoline over Peacock’s head and his brother Joshua set her on fire.
Peacock’s family is relieved there wont be a trial, but were visibly upset hearing details of her murder.
“It’s been hard on all of us. A lot of pressure on all of us, but we trust that justice will be served,” said Rufus Peacock.
Josh Preeper was handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 12-years in connection with Peacock’s murder.
Dustan Preeper was given two concurrent聽life sentences for the first-degree murder of Peacock聽and second-degree murder of Hare.
His common law spouse, Barbara Elizabeth Marshall, was also charged with Hare’s murder, but those charges were withdrawn Wednesday.
“He’s not a monster, not a monster” Dustan’s aunt said as she left the courthouse.
Josh Preeper had nothing to say to the court before sentencing.
Dustan however, thanked the judge, then used profanities and an obscene gesture directed towards the court.
“Dustan suffers from tendencies of Asperger’s syndrome, so does it surprise me that he said something, no not at all,” his aunt said.