Jennifer Suzanne Horne, 20, was found dead in Dartmouth on Dec. 31, 2007. (Halifax Regional Police)

A Nova Scotia family is appalled that a woman charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Jennifer Horne on New Year's Eve 2007 is applying to be let out of jail.

Ashley Haley is requesting to be freed from jail before her first-degree murder trial starts in less than three months.

Steve Andrews, Horne's uncle, said the family is confident the Nova Scotia Supreme Court will deny Haley's bail application.

"It's just appalling to us.  We can't believe it. I guess in our system, that individual has the right — Ashley Haley has the right to apply for this," Andrews said.

"We are very opposed to it, obviously. We have faith in the system that bail will be denied."

Haley will be back in court March 19 to see if her bail application is granted.

Horne was found dead in a Darmouth apartment 26 months ago. She had been raped and tortured, police said.

Haley's common-law husband Desmond Maguire is also charged with first-degree murder. Haley has been in custody since police discovered Horne's body in their Dartmouth apartment.

Strict monitoring program

If Haley is released it would be into the Adult Bail Supervision Program, a strict monitoring program, which can include electronic tracking bracelets, random phone checks and random door knocks by police.

Andrews and the rest of Horne's family and friends have been at the court more than two dozen times, following every development, since the legal process started.

"When this goes to trial and the public find out details of this, they will be — it is beyond belief that this could happen in this community here," he said.

But details remain locked behind a publication ban.

The ban blocks any reporting on what was discussed in court and the prohibition extends to the reasons behind the judge's decision, when he eventually makes it.

The family said they will continue following every development in the case.

"From the perspective of the family, we certainly are understanding that the wheels of justice turn slowly. That's become very obvious to us," Andrews said.

"We still have faith in the system. We still will follow this through. We want justice for Jennifer. She was brutally murdered. The people who did this must be brought to justice."