'Justice has been served': Preeper brothers sentenced to life for Dartmouth woman's murder

Haley Ryan
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METRO HALIFAX

The grandfather of murdered Dartmouth woman Melissa Dawn Peacock told reporters that “justice has been served,” after two brothers charged in her death were sentenced to life in prison.

At Supreme Court in Halifax July 16, Dustan Joseph Preeper, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, while Joshua Michael Preeper, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

They had been scheduled to go to trial in Kentville provincial court this fall.

Dustan also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Ben Hare, who was found dead outside a Truro apartment building in 2010.

“Melissa was very, very close to me. I spent a lot of time with her and someday I’ll see her,” said her grandfather Rufus Peacock outside court, one of many family members wearing a shirt with Melissa’s picture.

Details of Peacock’s killing were read in court from an agreed statement of facts, including how the 20-year-old victim was stabbed, dragged into the woods and set on fire.

The Dartmouth woman went missing in November 2011. Her last known location was Gore, Hants County, and police searched a property in Rawdon, Hants County, during the investigation. Her remains were found near Upper Stewiacke in the summer of 2012.

“Two young and promising persons are now gone forever, and all that we have are their memories,” said Justice James Chipman.

Chipman accepted the joint recommendation from the Crown and defence lawyers, handing Dustan Preeper a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years in the Peacock murder, as well as a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 12 years in Hare’s case.

Joshua Preeper was given a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 12 years in Peacock’s murder.

Prior to being sentenced, Dustan was asked if he had anything to say and told the court loudly “you can all go f- yourselves” while giving the finger, resulting in gasps from the gallery.

“What are you going to do, give me another 25 years?” Dustan said after the judge stated his comments were inappropriate.

Friends and families of the victims clapped as the judge ordered Dustan to sit down, to which he turned around in the bench and pumped his fist into the air with a sarcastic whoop.

Rufus Peacock said Dustan’s statement was “horrendous” and “does not say much” about his character, as well as made things difficult for families on both sides.

“Justice has been served and we’re thankful for it so we can go on with our life,” he said.

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Dartmouth, Halifax, Hants County Kentville Truro Rawdon Upper Stewiacke

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