Couple facing murder charges in Ontario appear in Halifax court
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:10AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 29, 2014 4:13PM EST
A woman and her common-law husband charged in connection with the murder of a Mississauga, Ont. man and his mother appeared in Halifax court Wednesday morning.
Melissa Merritt, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of her ex-husband Caleb Harrison, 41, and his mother, 63-year-old Bridget Harrison.
Merritt's common-law husband, 36-year-old Christopher Fattore, is also charged with first-degree murder in the deaths.
The couple’s provincial court appearance lasted mere minutes before they were remanded.
Peel police will have six days to take custody of Merritt and Fattore and return them to Ontario where they will face first-degree murder charges.
When leaving the courtroom, Merritt placed a hood over her head to shield her face.
Merritt and Fattore were arrested Tuesday near Bridgewater, N.S. The pair moved there shortly after Caleb Harrison's death last August.
Caleb Harrison was found dead in his family's Mississauga home in August 2013. His death was deemed suspicious by police and an autopsy later ruled it a homicide.
His mother's body had previously been discovered at the bottom of a staircase in the same home in April 2010. Police also considered her death to be suspicious but the case remained unsolved for years.
Peel Regional Police Insp. George Koekkoek told reporters on Tuesday that an investigation into Harrison’s death revealed that both mother and son were killed by asphyxiation.
Police also say they are now reopening an investigation into the death of Harrison’s father, 65-year-old Bill Harrison, who also died unexpectedly in the same Mississauga residence in 2009.
His death was originally thought to have been caused by natural causes but has since been reclassified as "unexplained" in light of the recent investigation.
Police say Merritt had been charged with parental abduction of the couple’s children in 2009, on the same day Bill Harrison died.
Merritt comes from a police family -- her father is a retired Toronto police officer and her brother currently works on the force.
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