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Crown withdraws murder charge against Upper Sackville man


Investigators are shown at the scene of a South Rawdon in this Apr 2017 file photo, where the remains of Laura Ross were found.
Investigators examine the scene of a structure fire in South Rawdon in April 2017. The body of Laura Ross, 27, was found in the burned-out garage. - Colin Chisholm
TRURO, N.S. —

An Upper Sackville man accused of killing a woman in Hants County last year left court a free man Friday after the Crown withdrew a charge of second-degree murder.

Laura Ross
Laura Ross

Joshua Eric Crowell, 28, was charged in the death of 27-year-old Laura Ross, whose body was found in a burned-out garage at her property on Highway 202 in South Rawdon on April 3, 2017.

Crowell was scheduled to go to trial in March in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Truro.

The prosecutor did not offer any explanation for withdrawing the charge.

Defence lawyer Peter Planetta, however, said outside court that he was not entirely surprised by the Crown’s decision.

“The Crown did an assessment of their case and determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed,” Planetta said. “And I respect making that decision.

“Our position all along was that we were prepared to go to trial and that Mr. Crowell was not guilty. ... We’re glad that they reviewed it and came to that decision.”

Investigators in the case determined the fire had been intentionally set and the death of the young mother was ruled a homicide.

Crowell was arrested in Halifax in July 2017 and charged with second-degree murder.

RCMP have not said what the relationship was between Crowell and Ross.

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