Man charged with killing wife, stepdaughter makes first appearance in Truro court

Harry Sullivan
Published on January 15, 2014
 Gerald Rushton hides his head after being escorted from the provincial court building in Truro Jan. 15 following a brief hearing to set a preliminary inquiry date.
Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News

TRURO – A Valley, Colchester County,  man accused of killing his common-law wife and her daughter is to return to court Feb. 10 to set a preliminary hearing date.

Gerald Ashley Rushton, 47, who lived with Elizabeth MacPherson at 492 Pictou Rd., is charged with first-degree murder in her death and that of Brittany MacPherson.

The bodies of the women, aged 53 and 24 respectively, were found in the home on Dec. 27 when police received a 911 call from the residence.

Rushton, who appeared in court with a large, gauze bandage on his left wrist, was initially taken to hospital from the murder scene in serious condition with a self-inflicted injury.

He remains in custody.

Halifax defence lawyer Lyle Howe said he expects to be able to set a preliminary hearing date during the next court appearance, providing the Crown is ready to release all disclosure information.

“I anticipate that it will be several months in the future before we can come back to deal with the actual prelim, so on February 10th we will a least set the date,” he said. “It’s not a very heavy disclosure package at this point, I’ll tell you that. The Crown indicated there’s more coming, I’m not sure what it is but I anticipate medical evidence.”

Howe said he expects the preliminary inquiry to last a week. Preliminary hearings are held to determine whether the Crown has enough to evidence to proceed to trial.