A man convicted of killing 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn of Abbotsford in 2005 has lost his bid for a new trial.
Dustin Moir, 33, had appealed his conviction on the basis that the trial judge erred in allowing Moir’s confession as part of a “Mr. Big” operation to be presented as evidence.
But a three-judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal agreed April 23 that there was no error, and Moir’s 2017 conviction for first-degree murder should stand.
Moir has already gone through two trials for Acorn’s murder. He received a life sentence in February 2010, but he appealed the decision, and his conviction was overturned in January 2013.
He was again found guilty in March 2017 at the conclusion of his second trial and received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. It was that decision that was the subject of Moir’s most recent appeal bid.
Moir’s father, Jesse Blue West, 68, was also convicted of Acorn’s murder in January 2013 in a separate trial. He later lost his bid for an appeal.
Acorn’s body was found April 8, 2006 by two hikers in a remote area near the Carolin Mines exit off the Coquihalla Highway outside of Hope.
She had been killed sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2005. She was found in a shallow grave covered with rocks, and a large rock was found by her head.
An autopsy revealed that her skull had been crushed above her left eye socket.
During the two trials, it was revealed that Moir met Acorn first, and then introduced her to his father.
Her death occurred during a camping trip. West testified at his trial that Moir and Acorn got into an argument, and Moir killed the teen by striking her. West said he then buried her body to protect his son.
At Moir’s two trials, he testified that it was his dad who killed Acorn, and he only helped his dad bury her body.
The criminal investigations used an undercover “Mr. Big” operation in which both West and Moir confessed to a “crime boss” that they had killed Acorn. Those confessions were used as evidence at their trials.
In Moir’s latest appeal application, his lawyer argued that the Mr. Big confession should not have been used as evidence because the statements Moir made at that time were unreliable, and he “had exhibited a tendency to lie and to inflate his own connection to criminality.”
The defence said that Moir confessed to “finishing off” a murder victim with his father because he felt he would be kicked out of the criminal organization if he didn’t.
But the B.C. Court of Appeal panel said the trial judge was correct in allowing the Mr. Big confession at Moir’s trial because the detail and sequence of events in his statement were “logically consistent and plausible” when compared to the other evidence.
The panel agreed with the trial judge’s view that the jury would be able to consider the confession “with unbiased minds” in weight with all the other evidence.