Montreal

Nick Fontanelli pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder of fiancée Samantha Higgins

Nicholas Fontanelli, 26, has pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Samantha Higgins, whose dismembered body was found in a bag under a bridge southwest of Montreal in 2015. 

Killer, now 26, had reported Higgins missing in July 2015, giving tearful interview to CBC at that time

The body of Samantha Higgins, 22, was found by farmers in Hinchinbrooke, Que., near the U.S. border in July 2015. Her fiancé and the father of her two children, Nicholas Fontanelli, 26, has pleaded guilty to Higgins' second-degree murder. (Facebook)

Nicholas Fontanelli has pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Samantha Higgins, whose dismembered body was found in a bag under a bridge southwest of Montreal in 2015. 

Fontanelli, now 26, had reported the 22-year-old Higgins missing July 7, 2015. High-school sweethearts, he and Higgins had two children together. 

Farmers found Higgins body two days later in a river near the Canada-U.S. border at Hinchinbrooke, Que. Police charged Fontanelli with first-degree murder in the woman's death the following week. 

Fontanelli now faces a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole for between 10 and 25 years. Lawyers will be back in court Oct. 22 to present their arguments on how long that period of parole ineligibility should be.

Nicholas Fontanelli had reported Higgins missing in July 2015, shortly before her dismembered body was found. (CBC)

Fontanelli spoke to CBC News while the search was still on for his fiancée in 2015, tearfully telling a reporter that he had yet to inform their children about their mother's disappearance.

"I just want her to come home," he said. "I miss her. I need her home. We all do. We all love her very much, and we need her home. We're searching.… We'll find her."

In court Tuesday, Fontenelli also pleaded guilty to a charge of committing an indignity to a body. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said that Nicholas Fontanelli pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. In fact, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
    Oct 08, 2019 5:43 PM ET

With files from Radio-Canada's Geneviève Garon