The family of a man convicted twice for murder says they support Chris Falconer’s appeal against his most recent conviction.
In January, Falconer was found guilty of murder in the first degree in the 2011 death of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Nick Scaravelli sentenced Falconer, 31, to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years after the 12 members of the jury in Pictou delivered their verdict.
Falconer has filed a prisoner notice of appeal, which means he’s making the appeal on his own and not through a lawyer.
Scott Falconer, Falconer’s father, said it wasn’t possible for his son to get a fair trial in Pictou County.
“First, he should have had a change of venue. There was no way — we spoke to [defence lawyer] Mike Taylor about this beforehand — there’s no way he would get a fair trial around here with his past conviction and this here charge. It’s a small community, if anybody says they didn’t know he had a past crime, I don’t believe you,” he said.
Falconer went to prison in 1998 after he and Fraser Kennedy killed a cab driver. Falconer was 15 years old at the time.
“He was young and yes, he was in a bad crowd and he did do that, yeah, and he admitted it. He [pleaded] guilty to it,” said Scott Falconer.
This is the first time the family has spoken since Falconer’s appeal earlier this year.
Family says venue swayed decision
Sue Kelly, Scott Falconer’s wife, said when Falconer was released in 2011 after serving time for the Kennedy murder, people made it clear they didn't want him back in Pictou County.
"And I understand that. Families are tight and that right?” said Kelly.
But she questions if that swayed the decision.
"He never should have come here [for the trial],” said Kelly.
As Falconer's family waits for word on whether a judge will hear the appeal, they say they feel for the Kirwan family.
"They were very unfortunate to have something like this happen to their daughter … It's a terrible thing," said Scott Falconer.
Friends last saw Kirwan when she left Dooly's pool hall in downtown New Glasgow in the early hours of Oct. 9, 2011.
Her remains were found about a month later in a shallow grave in Heathbell in Pictou County.
The Crown presented witness testimony and text messages that traced Falconer's movements from the time Kirwan was last seen.
Her body and clothes were found in a shallow grave close to the home of Falconer's stepsister and there was a bloody tank top found in his car, with both his and Kirwan's DNA on it.