William Sandeson has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Taylor Samson in Halifax in August 2015.
Sandeson was convicted of first-degree murder in a 2017 trial, but he appealed his conviction and a second trial was ordered.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James Chipman handed the case to the jury on Thursday afternoon. Jurors continued their deliberations through Friday and into late Saturday afternoon before delivering a verdict.
The jury had four possible verdicts — first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or not guilty of all charges.
William Sandeson found guilty of second degree murder.
The jury was polled to see if the verdict was unanimous. It was.
“I thank the Crown for their hard work,” said Linda Boutilier, Samson’s mother. “I know it’s not what we wanted. We wanted [first-degree murder]. But we’re going to take what we can get.
“He’s evil. There’s a special place in hell for him and that’s all I’ve got to say.”
The judge allowed jurors to recommend the period Sandeson must serve before beginning to apply for parole. The range is a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 25 years.
Nine jurors voted for 25 years, two voted for 22 and one voted for 10. The recommendations are not binding.
“There were the majority of jurors that came in to suggest a parole ineligibility period above 20 years and only one at the low end of 10 years, which is the minimum,” said Carla Ball, one of two Crown prosecutors. “So, that speaks to the abhorrent nature of the crime, in our view.”
Sentencing set for April
Sandeson was approaching his first year of medical school at Dalhousie University at the time of the killing. Samson was a Dalhousie physics student.
During the second trial, Sandeson admitted to shooting Samson during a drug deal, but claimed it was in self-defence.
“It appears that the jury has rejected the self-defence statement of claim of the accused and that is why they came to the determination of second-degree murder,” Ball said.
Sandeson testified he put Samson’s body in a stream that leads to the Bay of Fundy in the Truro area. The body has never been recovered.
Sentencing has been set for April 20-21. Two days will allow for victim impact statements.