A surprise guilty plea has resulted in the cancellation of a murder trial that was scheduled to begin in Prince George later this month.
It could also mean the details of Fribjon Bjornson’s death may never be divulged publicly. His severed head was found in a vacant house on Nak’azdli Reserve (which borders Fort St. James) on Feb. 3, 2012. His body has not been found.
On Wednesday, Wesley Dennis Duncan and Jesse Darren Bird pled guilty to second degree murder. They still face charges of indignity to human body. Two others were charged in the case, Teresa Marie Charlie and James David Junior Charlie, still face charges. Teresa Charlie was charged with accessory to murder after the fact and James Charlie with interference with a dead body.
In 2008, Bird was charged with attempted murder, causing bodily harm with a firearm, aggravated assault and a number of firearms charges in relation to a drive-by shooting on Aug. 6 of that year in downtown Prince George. A 19-year-old man in a targeted Lincoln Navigator SUV was seriously injured in a daylight gunfight, which took place in the 400 block of Dominion Street in Prince George. Bird, and two other men, were acquitted of the charges in 2009.
Bjornson was last seen Jan. 12, 2012, leaving a 7-Eleven in Vanderhoof. A house on the reserve was searched following the location of his abandoned truck in the area. Bjornson lived in Vanderhoof but had been working outside of Fort St. James.
There were numerous reports of rumours Bjornson had been killed and tortured during a drug-fuelled party on the reserve.
The alleged location of the party was next door to the abandoned house where his severed head was found.
Bjornson was only 28 years old and the father of two young children.
Bjornson’s parents, Eileen and Fred Bjornson, had gone forward to the press with information people had brought to them of their son’s torture and murder in the basement where the party was going on, but those who told the grieving parents were reportedly too afraid to come forward to the police because they feared reprisals from those involved.
The abandoned house where his head was found was later damaged in a fire and eventually demolished.
Bird and Duncan will likely be sentenced in January while the trials for the charges of accessory and interfering with a human body will go ahead later this month.