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2 people plead guilty to manslaughter in Cape Breton killing

Friends and supporters of homicide victim Stephen Rose and his family attended a protest outside the Sydney Justice Centre in 2021. (Erin Pottie/CBC - image credit)
Friends and supporters of homicide victim Stephen Rose and his family attended a protest outside the Sydney Justice Centre in 2021. (Erin Pottie/CBC - image credit)

Two people accused of killing a 41-year-old Cape Breton man have each pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Joseph Frederick Evong, 41, admitted to killing Stephen Rose, 41, during a confrontation in November 2019.

Evong had initially been charged with first-degree murder in Rose's death, but he entered the guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter last November in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney.

But the plea wasn't revealed until this week in order to protect the fair trial rights of Evong's co-accused, Jessica Ann MacDonald, 37.

That all changed when MacDonald went into court on Thursday of this week and also pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She had been facing a jury trial, which is why information on the outcome of Evong's case was banned from publication.

Following MacDonald's guilty plea, Justice Robin Gogan issued the formal termination order for the publication ban.

At Evong's hearing on Nov. 3, very limited facts were put on the record by Crown prosecutor Gerald MacDonald.

Sentencing this spring

In those facts, MacDonald said that Joseph Evong and Stephen Rose were in Jessica MacDonald's apartment on Rotary Drive in Sydney on Nov. 5, 2019.

"Mr. Joseph Evong instigated a violent and unlawful confrontation with Mr. Stephen Rose," the Crown said.

"Both Mr. Joseph Evong and Mr. Stephen Rose were armed with knives and during the course of the altercation, Mr. Stephen Rose was stabbed to death."

Evong was supposed to be sentenced earlier this week, but his sentencing has been adjourned to May. Jessica MacDonald's sentencing is set for two days in June.

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