Killer who beat man to death with rock fights conviction
A killer who was found guilty of hurling rocks at a young man and leaving his broken body to decompose in isolated bushland is appealing his conviction.
Brent Malcolm Huxley was sentenced in August last year to life imprisonment for murdering 25-year-old Michael McCabe.
Mr McCabe was assaulted by a group at a Townsville unit in August 2015 and then driven 80km north to Crystal Creek in the boot of a blue Commodore.
During a trial at Townsville Supreme Court, the jury accepted that Mr McCabe had died after Huxley and Jason Douglas Taylor, who was also convicted of the murder, had dropped a large rock onto his head.
At the Queensland Court of Appeal on Thursday, barrister Simon Hamlyn-Harris said the verdict had been “unsafe and unsatisfactory” because it had turned on the evidence of the crown’s key witness Darren Hess.
Mr Hess testified that Huxley confessed to him that he had killed Mr McCabe in the bushland with the rock.
“He said he’d done a hit on a fella for $10,000, told me he dropped a rock on him and showed me his actions how he’d done it,” Mr Hess said during the trial.
Mr Hamlyn-Harris told the Court of Appeal there were “a lot of questions” over Mr Hess’s evidence and raised doubts over where Mr McCabe had died.
“It would be impossible to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that his death was not caused at the unit,” Mr Hamlyn-Harris said.
“Everything turns on Hess.”
Mr Hamlyn-Harris also showed dark CCTV footage that was used in the trial and said the quality made it “impossible” to tell if Huxley was in the blue commodore.
The Crown prosecutor said there were many pieces of evidence that supported Mr Hess’s testimony, including the way Mr McCabe’s body was found in “active stillness”.
The appeal continues.
Originally published as Killer who beat man to death with rock fights conviction