Murder convictions overturned for alleged Hells Angels hit man

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Leslie Greenwood is escorted through the courthouse in Kentville, N.S., on Jan. 9, 2018.  (CBC - image credit)
Leslie Greenwood is escorted through the courthouse in Kentville, N.S., on Jan. 9, 2018. (CBC - image credit)

Nearly 22 years after Kirk Mersereau and Nancy Christensen were murdered in their Nova Scotia home, the man accused of killing them is facing the prospect of a third trial on two charges of first degree murder.

In a decision released Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned the latest conviction of Leslie Douglas Greenwood, a reputed Hells Angels hit man.

Mersereau and Christensen were found dead in their home in Centre Burlington, N.S., on September 9, 2000. They had been shot. Their infant son was lying unscathed in another room.

Initial conviction overturned

Greenwood was initially tried and convicted in a jury trial in 2012. But that conviction was overturned on appeal.

Greenwood was retried in January 2019. Jurors in that second trial were told about the first trial, but not the guilty verdict. So much time had passed, that some of the witnesses from that first trial had died and recordings of their testimony were played in court. That included Ruby McKenzie, the neighbour who discovered the bodies.

According to evidence in the various trials, all four murders were ordered by a Nova Scotia man, Jeffrey Albert Lynds, who has since died in prison.

The Crown's key witness against Greenwood in the Nova Scotia murders was Michael Lawrence, who had already pleaded guilty to first degree murder in their deaths.

In statements he made to police, Greenwood admitted to driving Lawrence to the scene of the murders but he said he did not go inside.

Fatal errors

In its ruling, the Court of Appeal said there were fatal errors in the trial judge's instructions to the jury, including on the question of whether Greenwood knew ahead of time that the plan was to murder Mersereau and Christensen.

"Based on the charge to the jury, they may have been left with the impression they could convict Greenwood of first degree murder because he drove Lawrence to the Mersereau home and assisted him in getting access to the house where Lawrence committed the murders without it being proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Greenwood knew that Lawrence had planned and deliberated on the murders," Justice David Farrar wrote for the three-member appeal panel.

A decision on whether to proceed with a third trial is up to the Crown, which is still studying the Court of Appeal decision.

Greenwood remains in a federal prison serving a sentence for two murders in Quebec. Kirk Murray and Antonio Anesi were killed in 2010.

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