Guilty pleas for 3 murders in 2000
A Nova Scotia man has admitted to murdering a man for his truck and then carrying out a hit on a couple in 2000.
Michael Lawrence pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Charlie Maddison, Kirk Mersereau and his wife, Nancy Christensen.
Lawrence, 37, from Windsor, said nothing as he was led into the courtroom in Kentville surrounded by armed guards.
A conviction for first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
In court on Tuesday, Lawrence faced Maddison's family and said he was sorry. He said if he had his life to live again, the murder would not have happened.
Linda Maddison, Charlie Maddison's daughter, told reporters outside the courtroom that her family had gotten some closure from the day's proceedings.
"This is a very difficult time for us," she said.
"We are really pleased to have finally — after so many years — received some answers about what happened to my father."
Maddison, 55, disappeared on Sept. 8, 2000, while driving from his home in Portapique, Colchester County to Halifax for a medical appointment. His truck was found burned in a clearing two days later.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Lawrence was hitchhiking to Halifax to commit a robbery. He was in the Truro area when Maddison picked him up.
Lawrence ordered Maddison to drive to a secluded area, and then get out of the truck. He shot Maddison twice with a handgun.
Lawrence drove on to Halifax, but he didn't go through with the robbery. He went back to the spot where he shot Maddison, and hid the body.
The next day, Lawrence went to the home of Mersereau and Christensen in Centre Burlington to help murder them. An accomplice shot them first, according to the court document, then Lawrence shot them with the same handgun he used on Maddison.
Randy Mersereau, a former Hells Angel, disappeared during a biker gang war in 1999. His remains were found during a police search of a property in Truro in December 2010.
Lawrence was charged with murdering Kirk Mersereau and Christensen weeks later.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Lawrence admitted to police what he did and participated in a re-enactment of the shootings but couldn't show police where he hid Maddison's body.
Maddison's body has never been found.
Curtis Blair Lynds and Leslie Douglas Greenwood also face charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kirk Mersereau and Christensen.
Lawrences, Maddisons meet after hearing
Cindy Lawrence, Michael Lawrence's mother, said she and her husband met with the Maddisons after the court proceedings.
"We apologized for the loss they've suffered at the hands of our son. They were extremely gracious people and we're grateful for that," she told reporters.
"We sent condolences along to Mr. Maddison's mother and we just pray that everyone can find peace at some point and move on. It's been a hard day and nobody wins."
Lawrence said Michael — the second of three children — was raised in a drug and alcohol-free home.
"When this all came to light last year, we talked to him about confessing when we knew what he'd been investigated for. We talked to him and reminded him that he'd always been taught to tell the truth and to own up for his mistakes," she said.
"He said he feels better that he's confessed. He deserves what he gets, in his words."
John Lawrence, Michael Lawrence's father, said his son has taken "full responsibility" for his actions.
"He pled guilty to it. He's willing to accept the consequences. That's it. He's going to be older than I am when he gets out of jail," he said.