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The ultimate crime

Before retiring from Halifax Regional Police in 2008, Tom Martin was a veteran homicide investigator who handled Jason MacCullough’s murder until the department’s cold case task force was disbanded in 2005.

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The Coast: How close were you ever to charges?

Tom Martin: Very close, very close. Probably within 2005 we were very, very close. We had that task force going; Jason's case is one of the main cases we were looking at.

What happened?

We weren't close enough, and then the deputy chief shut it down.

In your career, was there any case investigated to the degree of Jason MacCullough?

Kim McAndrew, I would say those would be the top two that I can recall. When it comes to homicides, or confirmed missing persons, I know it's easy for me to say because the money's not coming out of my pocket other than as a taxpayer, but one of the things I would have liked to see when I ran politically was a much more concentrated effort in dealing with these crimes. These are the ultimate crimes. These are the ones that will paint the picture of your community. When you're looking at Statistics Canada, and they do everything per capita, and they say Halifax is number two in Canada, that's not something to be proud of. We've got some dirt hanging off us.

The provincial rewards for major unsolved crimes program is offering $150,000 for information leading to a conviction in Jason's murder. Is that a useful tool?

Sure it is. Anything they can put out there that's going to be of some benefit to encourage someone to come forward. If it was $20, $100, yes it would be a useful tool. I just don't think it's enough. If you look at what it's going to cost you to relocate, $150,000 sounds like a lot of money—relocate your family, your kids, buy a new house, get the kids all new clothes, buy a car and all the rest of it. How far are you going to get on $150,000? Not too far. It costs big money to solve these crimes is what it comes down to, and somehow, some way, I believe the politicians, the bureaucrats and those that do the allotments provincially and municipally, they've got to find that money. 

Do you think Jason's murder will be solved?

I pray it is. That's entirely up to the department conducting that investigation. I think if the investigators have their way, yes, it will be solved. It's going to require a prolonged commitment by management to back and support the investigative efforts into that case and others. 

Do you think they'll give that commitment?

That's management's decision. I know a lot of families are getting very frustrated. See, this thing about closure—there is no closure. If you lose someone that you love, that hole is always going to be there. But there is justice. Especially in a homicide, regardless of the victim's place in life...to take a human life is the ultimate crime and something we as a society can't put up with.

What's your hope for Jason's case?

I want to see this solved very, very much. Same as Kim McAndrew. I can't think of anything in this world that would make me happier than to see those two cases solved.

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