A man accused of the 2005 murder of 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn of Abbotsford confessed to undercover officers about his involvement with the killing and revealed evidence that was known only to investigators, a Crown lawyer said Monday in court.
Michael Lefebure presented opening submissions in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster at the trial for Dustin Moir (in photo below), 30, who is charged with first-degree murder in Acorn’s death.
Acorn’s body was found April 8, 2006, by two hikers in a remote area near the Carolin Mines exit off the Coquihalla Highway outside of Hope.
She had been killed sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2005.
Lefebure said the remains were found in a shallow grave and were covered with rocks.
He said evidence at trial will show that Moir and his father Jesse Blue West had associated with Acorn in the period before her death.
Lefebure said that as police released information to the public after Acorn’s remains were found, they held back four key pieces of evidence: that she was found naked; roots had been cut in the grave; a large rock was found beside her head; and an autopsy revealed that she had a skull fracture above her left eye socket.
He said police launched an undercover operation in which they posed as members of a gang and recruited Moir to see what he knew, if anything, about Acorn’s death.
Lefebure said the investigation led to a meeting with the “crime boss” in which Moir confessed “in significant detail” his involvement with Acorn’s death and included references to the hold-back evidence.
Audio and video recordings were made of that meeting, Lefebure said.
Moir and West were arrested at the same time, in separate places. Lefebure said that when the two were driven together by sheriffs from the police station to the courthouse, their conversation was recorded by a device that police had secretly placed in the van.
“They can be heard discussing the offence and the undercover operation,” he said.
Lefebure said evidence presented by the Crown over the coming weeks of the trial will be divided into three parts – the discovery of the body and the initial investigation, Acorn’s life and the ongoing investigation, and the undercover operation.
The audio and video recordings will be among the evidence presented in court, Lefebure said.
The first witness to testify, RCMP Cpl. Mark Hodson, described being dispatched to the scene after two hikers who were looking for a campsite found an “abnormal area” with what appeared to be a bone.
Hodson was one of two officers who were first on the scene and, after he spent some time taking photographic evidence, he “probed” the hole to see if he could better determine the origins of the “white object.”
He confirmed that the object appeared to be a bone, and, when he reported his findings, he was instructed to call in other police resources, including the forensics identification section.
Those investigators found “what appeared to be a human foot, complete with painted toenails,” Hodson testified.
It was about a month later that dental records confirmed the remains to be that of Acorn.
This is Moir’s second trial for the first-degree murder of Acorn.
Justice Susan Griffin advised the 12-person jury on Monday that they should not concern themselves with the reasons that a new trial was approved.
“This trial will be decided on what is heard in this courtroom alone,” she said.