(CBC News) – A Newfoundland man who claimed a former RCMP officer was behind a beating meant to extract a murder confession has settled his civil lawsuit out of court.
Shannon Murrin was acquitted in the murder of eight-year-old Mindy Tran in 2000. The girl vanished near her Kelowna, B.C., home in August 1994 and her decomposing body was found a few months later.
In 1995, Murrin was beaten so badly he spent 11 days in hospital.
It was that beating that set off a lawsuit in a B.C. court against former RCMP Sgt. Gary Tidsbury, the federal government and three acquaintances of Murrin: Patrick Dunn, Robert Holmes and Ken Macdonald.
A trial was set for next week.
Reached at his home near St. John’s, Murrin, 59, said that a settlement had been reached, although he said he couldn’t talk about it.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen confirmed the lawsuit has been resolved and there would be no comment on the case.
In his statement of claim, Murrin had alleged the Mountie orchestrated the Jan. 1995 attack.
During Murrin’s trial, Tidsbury denied instigating the attack. Murrin’s lawyer, Peter Wilson, told the trial the RCMP investigation was biased and incompetent and that Tidsbury, as the lead investigator, lied under oath about his role.
Dunn pleaded guilty to assault in the attack and was given a six-month jail sentence. Charges were dropped against Holmes and MacDonald because a court ruled it took too long to bring the men to trial.
No one has been convicted of the little girl’s murder.
Murrin said in an interview that police botched the investigation from the beginning by focusing their investigation on him.
“There were other people in the neighbourhood they could have been looking at …there were a lot of things they could have done,” he said.
Wilson told the jury in Murrin’s murder trial that police decided Murrin was the prime suspect and then tried to make the evidence in the girl’s murder fit.
“When they say, you know, we get our man it doesn’t necessary mean the guy is guilty,” Murrin said, referring to the police investigation.
Vermeulen didn’t have an update on the Tran murder case, but said these types of cases always remain open.
After the jury acquitted Murrin, he began a relationship with one of the women on his jury. He and Kathy MacDonald are still together and living in Newfoundland.
One stipulation Murrin did have about the settlement was that it couldn’t prevent him from trying to publish a book he wrote about his ordeal.
Murrin recently had a falling out with the publisher and is searching for a new publisher for the book he has titled Hang Shannon Murrin.
“That’s what they wanted to do with me in B.C. for a long while, right? So I just thought I’d go with that,” he said, explaining why he chose the title.