Preliminary hearing begins for 5 accused of murdering Moncton teen
A preliminary hearing is underway for five people accused of killing an 18-year-old in Moncton last year.
Riley Phillips, 19, Hayden LeBlanc, 19, Hunter England, 20, Jerek England, 24, and Nicholas McAvoy, 24, are jointly charged with first-degree murder.
They're accused of killing Joedin Lloyd Leger on April 25, 2022.
The hearing that began Monday is expected to last 14 days, spread out over various dates until June. It's held for a judge to consider whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
None of the testimony or evidence presented in the hearing can be reported because of a publication ban issued by Judge Ronald LeBlanc.
A total of six people are charged with first-degree murder, a homicide that's planned and deliberate.
The sixth person was under 18 at the time of the alleged crime and his case is proceeding separately in youth court. He cannot be named.
Early morning shooting
RCMP have previously said police were called around 6:10 a.m. on April 25 about shots being fired at a Logan Lane duplex in Moncton's north end neighbourhood.
Leger had been shot and was taken to hospital, where he later died. RCMP said another person was inside the home but wasn't injured.
Police said they determined a car had pulled up to the home and four people got out and approached the house. Several shots were fired before the four got back into a vehicle and fled the area, police said in a news release last year.
Four of the five who are jointly charged sat side-by-side in the prisoner's box on Monday, occasionally talking to each other, laughing or exchanging looks with people in the public gallery. Jerek England, the only one of the five who was out on bail, sat in the public gallery.
The accused are under a court order not to communicate with each other, but the order was lifted for the preliminary because they're sitting next to each other.
About 25 people were seated on the side of the courtroom behind the defence lawyers, while only a handful of people sat in the rows behind RCMP investigators and Crown prosecutors.
The co-accused are each represented by different lawyers, requiring more seating than is typical.