APTN National News
The family of Loretta Saunders immediately erupted in cheers and yelling when Victoria Henneberry learned Thursday her second-degree murder appeal was dismissed in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
“We are very pleased with the work that the Crown done,” said Miriam Saunders, Loretta’s mother. “I’ve been praying and I was ready to accept what they had done because I left it to the Lord and my daughter’s soul.”
Loretta Saunders’ family feels like justice has been served for them, but noted it’s not the case for many others.
“There are families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls that aren’t treated as well as my white-passing sister,” said Delilah Saunders, Loretta’s sister.
Miriam said now that the appeal has been dismissed she can truly begin to heal and wants to focus on helping other families of MMIWG.
“I know there are a lot of people in pain out there and this is just the beginning,” said Miriam. “I believe Loretta’s death was the reason for this, is to open the door to the murdered and missing and I’m very grateful for that.”
Henneberry’s appeal of her second-degree murder conviction was dismissed Thursday morning in less than half an hour after she finished giving her final arguments on the second day of the hearing.
“It’s as though I’m in a dreamlike state,” said Henneberry after stating she had no access to medication Wednesday or Thursday.
Henneberry told the court that she’s always had a “pill phobia” and should have been on medication during the time of the murder.
Henneberry continued to focus on her self-diagnosed mental illnesses, both past and present.
In his rebuttal, Mark Scott, the Crown prosecutor, said, “If the person decides to appeal late, there is a concern this is nothing more than buyer’s remorse.”
In regards to Henneberry not being capable of understanding what she was doing when she pleaded guilty, he said, “The record shows no misunderstanding on the part of Henneberry.”
After producing a doctor’s note no one had ever seen during the first day of the appeal, asking for it to be used as evidence she has PTSD, Henneberry admitted the doctor could not speak to her condition at the time of her plea.
After a short recess, the appellate court announced it was a unanimous decision the appeal be dismissed.
Henneberry pleaded guilty in April 2015 and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Her boyfriend at the time, Blake Legette, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murder of Loretta Saunders.
The pair were subletting Saunders apartment in Halifax. They owed Saunders rent – and instead of coming up with the cash, they murdered her in the apartment, put her body in a hockey bag, and dumped it on the side of a highway in New Brunswick.