HINTON, Alta. - A registered sex offender accused of killing a mother and her 16-month-old son in western Alberta has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.
Robert Major entered the pleas at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Hinton, Alta., on Monday.
He also faced two counts of interfering with human remains, but Crown prosecutor Phil LeFeuvre said those charges are to be withdrawn.
Mchale Busch, 24, and her son, Noah McConnell, were found dead in an apartment complex in Hinton, about 250 kilometres west of Edmonton, on Sept. 17, 2021.
LeFeuvre, who read an agreed statement of facts in court, said Major killed them the day before.
Busch’s mutilated body was found face down in the bathtub of Major’s apartment, while Noah’s body was discovered in a dumpster at the apartment complex, LeFeuvre told the court.
"Mr. Major’s attack was sexually motivated," he said. "Ms. Busch attempted to escape and defend herself."
Busch, her son and her fiancé, Cody McConnell, had lived in the apartment next to Major’s, LeFeuvre said.
The family moved there three weeks before the killings.
“Ms. Busch and Mr. McConnell had moved to Hinton so Mr. McConnell could work in the area’s oil and gas sector,” LeFeuvre said. “Ms. Busch took care of Noah and managed the family’s home.”
Four years earlier, Edmonton police issued a warning about Major being released into the community. The warning at the time said there was a chance he could harm "a female, including children."
Shortly after he was charged for killing Busch and Noah, RCMP said Major had not been subject to any recognizance conditions since July 2020.
LeFeuvre said Major had been living at the apartment in Hinton since October 2020.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.
"Mr. Major interfered with Ms. Busch’s body by cutting her open and removing various body parts," he said.
“Moments after killing Ms. Busch, Mr. Major intentionally killed Noah McConnell by forcing a sock down his throat and tying a plastic bag over his head.”
Major's three-day sentencing hearing is scheduled for November.
Justice Marta Burns said the sentencing is to be held at that time to await the Supreme Court of Canada's decision on the constitutionality of consecutive life sentences for multiple murders.