Crime

Sheet Harbour man in court on charges related to Catie Miller case

This story contains graphic descriptions of what happened to Miller's body

This story contains a correction

Lawyers and clients wait outside the courtrooms before they open.   Christy Somos

George Hubley’s hoarse male voice echoes slightly in the microphones on the video footage from his cement interrogation cell.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel…terrible.”

The date is Nov. 24, 2014 and the man has been in this gray box for hours. Hubley is being interrogated by detectives on his involvement in the grisly murder of Catie Miller, a Dartmouth native.

In an agreed statement of facts presented in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Thursday,  Miller was murdered on on July 15, 2014 and brought to an “associate” who was told to have tools ready to assist the killers in disposing of her body.

Hubley is accused of being that associate. He faces two charges: one for accessory after the fact, and one for interfering with human remains.

On Jan. 31, 2017, Hubley’s trial over those charges began; it could last as long as 15 days. Thursday marked day four of that trial — attorneys on Thursday played several hours of audio and video footage from Hubley’s interactions with police in 2014.

Miller was viciously beaten and stabbed to death by Jason Johnson and Kelly MacDonald in July of 2014. The investigation of events up to Miller’s death — and the discovery of her dismembered remains — led them to Sheet Harbour, and to Hubley’s property.

In Hubley’s video testimony, he said that he did help Johnson and MacDonald dispose of the body, but he never assisted in murdering Miller.

“I couldn’t even kill a cat if it was sick and dying,” he said in the footage, as a way of explaining his squeamishness about the situation.

Hubley also said that he gave items to the convicted murderers that would help them dispose of the body and hide the evidence: an ax, a tarp, garbage bags, a knife and spare clothes.

Hubley told detectives he was terrified of Johnson, so he helped them get away with the crime and became an accomplice.

He said that Johnson and MacDonald were high “on cocaine.” Hubley said he feared they would come after his young daughter, his mother and other family members. When the detective asked why Hubley didn’t call 911 after Johnson and MacDonald had left his property, he could only say, “I was scared, people are crazy [while on cocaine].”

Hubley said Miller’s head and hands were cut off and put in garbage bags, her torso placed in a tarp. Later, her hands were found in the woods near the airport, according to reports at the time. Her torso, still wrapped in a tarp, was tied to a tree in Lawrencetown; her head was buried in a sinkhole on the same property.

When Hubley discussed Miller’s injuries and her dismembered remains, he told the detective that the images have stayed with him: “I think of it every time I’m in my bed.”

Eyes in the courtroom were glued to the screen during the video testimony, where viewers also saw Hubley left alone in a tiny interrogation room multiple times. On the footage, he sobbed in his hands, paced the interrogation cell, picked at his skin and occasionally sang to himself miserably.

He could often be heard breathing heavily, mumbling things like “30 fucking years wasted, because of this” and “my poor little girl.”

Sitting next to his lawyer Brian Church in Supreme Court on Thursday, Hubley appeared a different man then the one seen in the video testimony from three years prior. He didn’t talk much, but looked cool and collected while wearing a black suit.

In an interview, Crown Attorneys Rob Kennedy and Glen Scheurer say they will wait until all the evidence is admitted and arguments made before they make a recommendation to Justice Felix Cacchione.

On one of the final moments of the footage heard in court on Thursday, Hubley tells the detectives that life, as he knows it, is over.

In the recording, the officers can be heard driving him back to his property in Sheet Harbour and marvelling at the tranquillity of his neighbourhood. Hubley is then heard remarking, “Yeah, it’s nice — I don’t want to be in this town anymore though.”

 

Correction: Feb. 9, 2017:The Signal was contacted by the Crown to remove certain legal wording so as not to have a negative effect on an accused's right to a fair trial. The language has been removed.