New Brunswick man appeals murder conviction in cousin's death

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FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Court of Appeal began hearing arguments Tuesday in the case of a man convicted of murdering his 16-year-old cousin.

Curtis Bonnell was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2012, but in the appeal court his lawyer argued the trial judge should have related the evidence to a possible finding of manslaughter in his instructions to the jury.

Bonnell is appealing his conviction.

During the trial, the Crown alleged he picked up Hilary Bonnell on a rural stretch of road near the Esgenoopetitj (Es-geh-no-peh-titch) First Nation on Sept. 5, 2009, sexually assaulted her and killed her.

Court heard that Curtis Bonnell was arrested in November 2009 and led police to a remote site where the girl's body had been buried.

During interviews with police, Bonnell said he killed his cousin, but he offered a different version of events at his trial.

He testified that he woke up after a night of alcohol and drugs to find Hilary dead next to him in his pickup truck, panicked and buried her.

Bonnell also said his spiritual adviser was working for the police and tricked him into admitting he killed the girl, when he didn't kill her.

Three days have been set aside for the appeal.

Geographic location: New Brunswick, FREDERICTON

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