A Moncton man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2022 shooting death of Joedin Leger.
Hayden Joseph James LeBlanc, 20, was among six people charged in Leger's death and the second to plead guilty to manslaughter.
LeBlanc appeared in Moncton's Court of King's Bench on Thursday afternoon without the other four co-accused in the case. LeBlanc stood in the prisoner's box wearing a dress shirt and suit jacket as Justice Jean-Paul Ouellette asked him to confirm the change in plea.
"I plead guilty," LeBlanc said, as members of Leger's family sobbed in the public gallery.
The Crown and defence lawyers gave Ouellette an agreed statement of facts which the judge read out loud.
Joedin Leger, 18, died April 25, 2022. (Albert County Funeral Home)
However, the facts of what LeBlanc has admitted cannot be reported. Ouellette imposed a publication ban on the facts at the request of the Crown prosecutor given that four co-accused are set to be tried by a jury in September.
LeBlanc was among six originally charged with first-degree murder in Leger's April 25, 2022, death. However, the murder charge for LeBlanc was reduced to manslaughter after a preliminary inquiry, held to test the evidence in the case, in provincial court.
Manslaughter is a charge involving a homicide committed without the intention to cause death. Sentences vary from probation to life in prison.
LeBlanc and four others were set to be tried together. The sixth person was under 18 at the time of Leger's death and his case was heard in youth court. Because of his age, he cannot be named.
That man pleaded guilty to manslaughter last fall and was sentenced in November. He received the Youth Criminal Justice Act's maximum sentence of three years.
With credit for time spent in custody since his arrest, he walked out of court without needing to spend any more time in jail.
Ouellette went through a series of questions with LeBlanc on Thursday to confirm his guilty plea and that he was doing so voluntarily.
"Yes," LeBlanc responded, though he expressed confusion about some of the questions.
Sentencing in June
Ouellette ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report, which provides information about an offender's history, and victim impact statements from Leger's family.
Defence lawyer Luc Roy told the judge he and the prosecutor will be offering a joint sentencing recommendation.
LeBlanc is scheduled to be sentenced June 4. He remains in custody.