Security was tight at the Kentville courthouse Dec. 17 when two brothers charged in the death of Melissa Dawn Peacock made an appearance before Justice Gregory Warner in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Dustan Joseph Preeper, 25, of Halifax, and Joshua Michael Preeper, 21, of Kennetcook, are charged with first degree murder in the death of Peacock, 20, who was reported missing Nov. 9, 2011 by her family, two days after she left her Dartmouth home. Her body was found in July 2012 in Upper Stewiake, Colchester County. The Preeper brothers were arrested and made their first appearance in a Truro court on the murder charge July 4, 2012.
Dustan Preeper also faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Ben Hare, 26, a Truro man who died in a street fight in 2010.
Lawyers for the Preepers, who have been in custody since their arrest, will return to court Feb. 5 for a pre-trial conference. The brothers, who are not required to be in court for that session, won’t be back before a Supreme Court Justice until their trial begins on Nov. 3, 2014. Four weeks have been set aside for testimony in their jury trial. An alternate start date of Feb. 2, 2015 was also set at the Dec. 17 hearing.
The venue for the proceedings has been changed to Kentville to accommodate jurisdiction issues. Court documents indicate Peacock’s murder was committed in Upper Rawdon, Hants County, an area served by Windsor provincial court. A spokesperson for the Kentville Justice Centre said the venue change was necessary because the Windsor facility is not equipped to handle the logistics of a lengthy jury trial.
A publication ban on all details related to the case remains in effect.