Accused Quinte West murderers face new charges in Belleville court

Inset photos (L to R): Aaron Ryan, Khadijah Courneyea, Harold Russell, Steven Courneyea, and Morgan Belyea. The five are charged with murder in the death of a 17-year-old boy earlier this year. Large photo: Belleville Court of Justice building.
Kingstonist file images.

Four of the five people accused in a Quinte West homicide earlier this year appeared in Belleville’s Ontario Court of Justice on Thursday, Apr. 11, 2024, facing fresh charges.

Justice of the Peace Leona Dombrowsky oversaw the proceedings via video conference. Steven Courneyea, Harold Russell, and Aaron Ryan appeared from Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, while Khadijah Courneyea appeared from Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee. 

On Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, at approximately 11 a.m., members of the Quinte West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a well-being check at a motel on Dundas Street East in Trenton. Officers located a 17-year-old boy deceased at that location. As a result of the investigation, five people were arrested and charged with first-degree murder:

  • Morgan Belyea, 22, of Belleville
  • Steven Courneyea, 27, of Belleville
  • Harold Russell, 43, of Quinte West 
  • Aaron Ryan, 28, of Quinte West
  • Khadijah Courneyea, 29, of Quinte West. 

At Thursday’s hearings, each of the lawyers for the co-accused (except for Belyea) arranged for a case management hearing in front of a Judge in early May of 2024. The Honourable Justice John D. Bonn will preside.

Belyea’s next court date is set for mid-April.

On Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2024, the OPP announced the following additional charges:

Belyea, Steven Courneyea, and Russell have been further charged with:

  • Conspiracy to commit murder
  • Robbery with a weapon

Khadijah Courneyea and Ryan have further been charged with:

  • Conspiracy to commit murder
  • Robbery with a weapon
  • Obstructing a peace officer

The case details are subject to a publication ban under Section 486.4(2.2) of the Criminal Code, which requires that a judge order the publication ban of any information identifying an underage victim. Justice of the Peace Dombrowsky applied this publication ban to all new charges at the April 11, 2024 appearances.

On February 22, 2024, Steven Courneyea was also charged with multiple other offences related to theft, theft of vehicles, breaking and entering, and possession of stolen property obtained by crime. Those charges are not subject to a publication ban.

According to an OPP release, the investigation into the homicide continues under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Quinte West OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477 (TIPS), where they may be eligible to receive a cash reward.

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