Nova Scotia

Accused killer makes first court appearance in Triston Reece death

The man charged with first-degree murder in the first homicide in Halifax in 2019 made his first court appearance Monday.

Kaz Henry Cox, 40, accused of shooting Reece to death in July

Triston Reece, 19, was shot in west-end Halifax on July 26, 2019. He died of his wounds. (Mairin Prentiss/CBC)

The man charged with first-degree murder in the first homicide in Halifax in 2019 made his first court appearance Monday.

Kaz Henry Cox, 40, was arrested Friday at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth where he was being held on other charges.

Triston Michael Edward Reece, 19, was shot and killed on Scot Street in west-end Halifax on July 26.

Reece's mother, Dale Russell, was in Halifax provincial court to get her first glimpse of the man accused of killing her son.

"I have no words for that; I don't have an answer for that," she said outside court afterward. "I'm just numb."

Cox appeared without his lawyer, David Hirtle. He told Judge Amy Sakalauskas that he wanted to move the case forward as quickly as possible. He suggested returning to court next week.

Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn said that may be too soon.

"There's a lot of disclosure in a first-degree murder case, there's a lot of material that has to be reviewed by a lawyer," Woodburn said.

"And then we have to focus on the preliminary inquiry and try to tighten up so we're not running essentially two trials."

'I don't know this man'

The judge granted Cox's request and agreed to bring the case back next Wednesday. He will be held in jail in the meantime. If he wants to apply for bail, he must take his request before a justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Cox has a lengthy criminal history dating back at least to 1999. It includes charges of assault, uttering threats and assault causing bodily harm.

Russell said she knows of no connection between Cox and her son.

"I don't know this man, never saw him in my life," Russell said. "I'll never forget his face, though."

Russell was surrounded by a large group of family and friends who packed the courtroom. Some of them sobbed quietly during Cox's brief appearance. There was also extra security on hand, including five sheriffs and two police officers.

Russell said she was grateful for the support.

"This is going to be a long hard process for me and for my family and for Triston's friends, and I encourage everybody that does come to carry themselves like they did today," she said.

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