Thirty-seven year old Thomas Ted Barrett, of Glace Bay, appeared in Halifax Provincial Court this morning to face two counts of Second Degree Murder. Police arrested Barrett yesterday in Halifax, where he is currently in custody at the Burnside Correctional Centre.
“Today’s charges are the result of an extensive and complex investigation, which we’ve been working on actively for close to six years,” said Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac. “Our very dedicated team of investigators were committed to identifying everyone responsible for these horrific crimes and holding them accountable.”
Cape Breton Regional Police announced the charges at a media conference this morning, joined by members of the Ontario Provincial Police, who assisted with the investigation. Their Criminal Investigation Branch has been working with the CBRPS since early 2012, first on the MacKinnon homicide and then continuing through to the Jessome homicide.
“We have a long-standing working relationship with the OPP, whose Criminal Investigation Branch has a wealth of specialized skills and talent that we knew would be valuable to our efforts,” said Chief McIsaac, “and we are very grateful for their immense support.”
“The OPP is regularly asked by our law enforcement colleagues to assist with investigations, including those cases that have touched communities very deeply – as has sadly occurred here. When that happens, it’s not a matter of deciding whether or not we can help -- the decision is how can we help, says OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis. “We’re honoured to have been able to support the wonderful men and women of the CBRPS and are obviously very pleased with the outcome."
"The results of these investigations again demonstrate the success that police services from across Canada can achieve when working together and sharing our best practices and information,” added OPP Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, Provincial Commander of Investigations and Organized Crime. “This is vital in order to identify, track down, and prosecute those who are responsible for bringing the lives of two young women to a premature end."
Police have now charged a total of five people in connection to these murders: Morgan James McNeil has also been charged with 2nd Degree Murder for Jessome’s death, for which Robert Edwin Matheson and Brian Augestine Deruelle are charged as Accessories After the Fact to Murder. John Wayne Hynes is also charged with Accessory After the Fact to Murder for MacKinnon’s death.
Twenty-one year old Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon was last seen in early June 2006, and was reported missing on July 13th of that same year. On November 21, 2008, local residents found her remains in an area known for hiking and ATV trails on the outskirts of Glace Bay. Twenty-one year old Laura Jessome was last seen on May 2, 2012, in the New Aberdeen area of Glace Bay, with two suitcases and a laundry basket full of personal items. On May 25, 2012 her remains were discovered in a bag floating in the Mira River near Marion Bridge.
Police continue to actively investigate the murder of Harold “Buster” Slaunwhite, who was found murdered in his Dominion residence on September 10, 2006. Police believe there are people with information relevant to this investigation, specifically anyone present at two house parties in Slaunwhite’s neighbourhood on the night prior to his death. Anyone with information can speak directly to investigators on this case, by contacting police at 563-5574. The Slaunwhite murder also remains part of Nova Scotia’s Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program, which offers a cash award of up to $150,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) responsible for specified major unsolved crimes.