The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of a man who killed 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn of Abbotsford in 2005.
Jesse Blue West, 62, had appealed the January 2013 decision that found him guilty of first-degree murder, as he challenged the admissibility of certain statements made and evidence presented during his trial.
But a three-judge panel agreed that the appeal should be dismissed.
West and his son Dustin Blue Robert Moir, 29, were charged with Acorn’s murder in 2007, and both were convicted at separate trials, receiving automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Moir also appealed his conviction, which was overturned in January 2013 by the B.C. Court of Appeal, just nine days after his dad’s conviction.. A new trial date has not yet been set.
Moir won a new trial on the basis that the original trial judge erred in some of his instructions to the jury.
Acorn (in photo) was reported missing from an Abbotsford foster home in June 2005. Her remains were found the following April in a shallow grave off the Coquihalla Highway outside of Hope.
She had been buried naked, and an autopsy determined that her skull had been crushed with a large rock sometime in the fall of 2005.
Most of the Crown’s case in both trials hinged on evidence gathered in separate “Mr. Big” operations in which undercover police officers posed as members of a criminal organization.
West and Moir were each videotaped confessing to the “boss,” but both testified at their trials that they had lied to win favour with the crime ring.
Moir testified that his father strangled Chelsey, and his only involvement was helping to bury the body.
West testified that his son accidentally killed Chelsey after he struck her during an argument, and West then buried the body.
In his appeal application, West said the trial judge had erred when he considered West’s statements made to the undercover officers to be reliable because they were confirmed by other evidence.
West’s lawyer also stated that the judge was wrong to allow evidence in court that was gathered during the Mr. Big operation of West’s willingness to participate in the pornographic film industry by providing “talent” to a supposed video producer.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with all the arguments.