Nova Scotia

Crown withdraws murder charge in 13-year-old cold case

In a surprise development, the Crown has withdrawn a murder charge in the killing of Naomi Kidston in 2005.

Donald Murray Peters was charged last year with second-degree murder in the death of Naomi Kidston

Naomi Kidston was killed in 2005 in Spryfield. A second-degree murder charge against Donald Murray Peters in relation to her death has been withdrawn by the Crown. (CBC)

In a surprise development, the Crown has withdrawn a murder charge in a 13-year-old cold case.

Donald Murray Peters was charged last year with second-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Naomi Kidston.

She was found dead in her apartment in Spryfield, a Halifax suburb, on June 7, 2005. Police said at the time of her death that it was not a random act and that Kidston likely knew her killer.

Peters was considered a person of interest, but was not charged until last year when he was arrested at his home in Saint John, N.B., and brought back to Halifax.

"Over the last several months, the cold-case investigators have re-examined all the evidence, sent some exhibits away for further analysis, and through a combination of all, have got the case to the point where they were comfortable in the arrest and charge," Halifax Regional Police Supt. Jim Perrin said at the time of Peters' arrest last March.

Trial was scheduled for 2019

The Crown then preferred an indictment, pre-empting a preliminary inquiry and sending the case straight to trial, which was scheduled for Nova Scotia Supreme Court in February 2019.

But on Monday morning, the Crown withdrew the indictment.

"We came to the conclusion that we no longer have a realistic prospect of conviction in this matter, a decision made after extensive consultation with some forensic witnesses in this case and after consultation within the Crown attorneys office," Crown prosecutor Mark Heerema said outside court.

Heerema said there's little more he can say.

"I can't speak to too many details in this matter. Obviously, it remains a cold case and to that extent the police will maintain an active investigation if there's cause for that."

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca