Nova Scotia

Laffin pleads guilty to killing Nadine Taylor

Steven Elliott Laffin entered the guilty plea during an appearance in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon.
Cecil Taylor, the father of Nadine Taylor, speaks to reporters after his daughter's killer pleaded guilty. 1:04

A 38-year-old Dartmouth man has pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Nadine Taylor.

Steven Elliott Laffin entered the guilty plea during an appearance in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon. 

A murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but a judge must still decide when Laffin may start applying for parole.

Arguments on the parole eligibility will be heard on April 25.

Laffin is also being sentenced for kidnapping, aggravated assault, uttering threats and unlawful confinement.

Those charges stem from an incident on Aug. 16, 2010 when a woman escaped from the trunk of a moving car on Old Sambro Road in Halifax.

The woman — who told CBC News she has since quit the sex-trade business — said Laffin grabbed her throat and choked her unconscious.

When she recovered, her mouth was covered in duct tape and her ankles and wrists were bound.  The woman was sexually assaulted and she said Laffin threatened to kill her.

She was stuffed in the trunk of Laffin's car, but managed to escape from the moving vehicle and get help.

Nadine Taylor's disappearance

Taylor disappeared on a July night in 2010.

Laffin was charged with her murder in October of that year, even though police said at the time that they did not expect to ever find her body.

The night Nadine Taylor disappeared was just a couple of days before Steven Laffin was to get married to Joanna Swinemar.

At the time, his wife-to-be was out of town attending her stagette.

She called Laffin that night and he told her he was tired and was staying home, one of many lies he has told. During Laffin’s preliminary inquiry the court heard testimony from his now ex-wife, that Laffin brought Taylor to their Dartmouth home.

Both his wife and police witnesses testified about blood spatter all over the basement of that home.

To explain the blood, Laffin told his wife he'd been mugged in the driveway, and went down the basement to clean up so as not to mess up the rest of the house.

Because they were getting married and were having guests in the house, Laffin persuaded his wife to help him clean the house. They scrubbed it down, but they didn't get everything because police were still able to  gather samples for trial.

Police spent seven days searching the house, gathering the evidence they thought they were going to have to use at his trial.

In a surprising twist last Friday, Laffin led police to Taylor's body, concealed in woods near a highway in East Chezzetcook. 

The Crown in the murder case had earlier indicated that Laffin was expected to plead guilty to the killing, rather than go to trial.

Taylor had been working in the sex trade at the time of her disappearance.

Family, friends of Taylor react to plea

Taylor's father, Cecil Taylor, spoke to reporters outside the courtroom on Thursday.

He said the plea provided him "some" closure but he said "it will never go away but it's good to know that now she can have a burial anyway, not be thrown in the ground like dirt."

"It was good to get that over with as well as to put Nadine to rest."

"He took one of my best friends. It made me realize there are monsters out there and they could be your neighbour," said Claudette Collee-Lavoie, Taylor’s friend.

Taylor’s aunt said funeral arrangements are almost complete. The family is waiting to hear back from the medical examiner’s office about final confirmation of the remains found.

That confirmation is expected next week then Taylor can finally be laid to rest.

Laffin has been in custody since he was arrested for the assault against the woman who escaped from the trunk of his car. 

While being held in the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre in Burnside, Laffin assaulted another inmate.  The attack occurred in August, 2011.

He pleaded guilty to attacking Clarence Michael McLeod and was sentenced to three months. McLeod required stitches.

He was also in the jail awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder. McLeod was convicted last November.

A third woman alleged Laffin attacked her in a quarry, but charges in that case were withdrawn when the victim failed to appear on time for a court date.