WARNING: This story contains graphic details some readers may find disturbing.
Prosecutors are seeking a dangerous offender assessment for a homeless man who killed a woman in Creston and then used a saw to cut her body into seven pieces — a case described by a judge as “macabre” and “beyond the pale.”
Nathaniel David Jessup, 35, was convicted Friday on charges of manslaughter and offering an indignity to human remains following a BC Supreme Court trial in Kamloops and Cranbrook over the summer.
He was 28 in the summer of 2015, when 59-year-old Katherine McAdam vanished before her dismembered body was found 12 days later. At trial, court heard the two had a friendly relationship.
Jessup killed McAdam on Aug. 15, 2015, inside the basement suite she rented on Cedar Street in Creston. Her dismembered remains were located by police inside a bike trailer on an acreage in Erickson, an unincorporated community just east of Creston.
Court heard investigators were unable to determine exactly how or when she died due to her dismemberment — which was undertaken with a hacksaw — and the level of decomposition by the time her remains were located.
In part because of that, BC Supreme Court Justice James Williams ruled there was not enough evidence for a guilty verdict on Jessup’s second-degree murder charge. He convicted him of the lesser included offence of manslaughter.
“The extent of the desecration was macabre, callous and of such a nature that it would shock any sense of decency,” the judge said in Friday’s decision.
“At trial, it was apparent to me that the experienced police officers who dealt with the remains at the scene found the situation extremely distressing. The state of decay that had occurred, a condition that could hardly have been a surprising development in the circumstances, made the matter even more grotesque. To say the defendant’s actions were extreme is to understate the reality.”
Following the conviction, Crown prosecutor Laura Drake indicated the Crown wants Jessup assessed for possible dangerous offender status — a designation that could bring with it an indefinite prison sentence.
Jessup was acquitted following a previous murder trial in 2019. He was charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 death of Dylan Levi Judd, his cellmate at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre. In that case, a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to prove Judd did not take his own life — as police initially believed.
Jessup was arrested in the Lower Mainland weeks after McAdam’s death and he has been in custody since. He served a 3.5-year sentence following a series of choking incidents involving children.
Dangerous and long-term offender designations are reserved for the most serious offenders in Canada. Dangerous offenders can be locked up indefinitely, while long-term offenders are jailed and then monitored closely in the community for an extended period. Both provisions are in place for violent criminals who are deemed likely to reoffend.
Jessup’s dangerous-offender assessment is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. He is due back in court on Jan. 23, at which time a report detailing the assessment’s findings is expected to be ready.