Little Ridge man charged with second degree murder chooses trial by judge and jury

Courier photo Irving Hastey, accused in the Christmas Eve killing of Crystal Ann Tracey in St. Stephen, appeared briefly in court in Saint John on Monday. Hastey chose a trial by judge and jury, and the case was held over until April 12 and April 15 for the preliminary hearing.

St. Stephen – A Little Ridge man accused in the Christmas Eve killing of a St. Stephen woman appeared in court in Saint John briefly on Monday morning. Irving John Hastey, 55, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of Crystal Ann Tracey, 52, of St. Stephen.

At around 11 a.m. on December 24, also the birthday of the victim, RCMP were called to a residence on Schoodic Street in St. Stephen, where they found the victim deceased, and Hastey unresponsive. Hastey was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, the nature of which have not yet been disclosed.

On December 26, Hastey, was charged with second degree murder, making an initial court appearance the following day. At that time, Hastey did not have a lawyer, and the matter was held over until January 14. Hastey has since retained Brian Munro as his council.

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Hastey, sitting in the prisoners’ booth wearing a bright orange jumpsuit opted not to speak in court on Monday. He did however pass two envelopes to his lawyer during the proceedings. Munro told Judge Henrik Tonning his client had elected a trial by judge and jury.

Tonning then set the dates of April 12 and April 15 for the preliminary hearing, which will be prosecuted by Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur and Crown lawyer Shara Munn. Members of Hastey’s family were in the courtroom.

It was revealed Hastey had been under a previous court order since last summer to have no contact with the victim, with the “sole exception of dealing with children and family members”. In addition to the second degree murder charge, Hastey has been charged with breaking the no contact order.

The Court was told that the Crown is seeking to withdraw other charges against Hastey for firearms and break and enter offenses that are not related to this case.

At this time, it has not yet been revealed how Tracey was killed, or the nature of Hastey’s injuries. Tracey is survived by three children, all of St. Stephen, and a granddaughter. Her funeral was held at S.O. Mehan and Son Funeral Home Ltd. in St. Stephen on Monday, Dec. 31.