Med­i­cal stu­dent ac­cused of mur­der was deeply in debt, trial told

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Atlantic - BY KIERAN LEAV­ITT

Med­i­cal stu­dent Wil­liam San­deson was deeply in debt and un­der pres­sure from his par­ents about his spend­ing in the weeks be­fore he al­legedly mur­dered an­other stu­dent dur­ing a drug deal, a Hal­i­fax jury heard Wed­nes­day.

A Truro CIBC bank man­ager said San­deson owed $73,000 on a $200,000 line of credit in July, 2015.

“It was to al­low Mr. San­deson to go to med­i­cal school,’’ Adam Hayden told Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court.

Gilles Marc­hand, an RCMP foren­sic an­a­lyst who pulled texts off the Dal­housie Univer­sity stu­dent’s cell­phone, tes­ti­fied that San­deson’s fa­ther told him in July that his mother was wor­ried about his spend­ing.

“Lori (San­deson’s mother) got mail today and she is mad over the credit line,’’ a text from his fa­ther said.

“Well she has no need to be,’’ San­deson replied. “It will be paid this Septem­ber.’’

San­deson, 24, is ac­cused of mur­der­ing physics stu­dent Tay­lor Sam­son, 22, dur­ing a drug deal on Aug. 15, 2015, where the al­leged vic­tim was to sell San­deson 20 pounds of mar­i­juana for $40,000. Sam­son’s body has never been found.

Ac­cord­ing to other text mes­sages re­trieved by Marc­hand, San­deson texted his fa­ther on Aug. 16: “I think I will be home Tues­day to drop off junk from Hal­i­fax.’’

The trial heard DNA was re­cov­ered from a bullet, gun, tarp, duf­fel bag and other items seized from San­deson’s Henry Street apart­ment in Hal­i­fax and his fam­ily’s farm in Truro.

Florence Ce­les­tine, an Ottawa-based DNA spe­cial­ist, said swabs from a 9mm pis­tol found in a safe in San­deson’s apart­ment matched Sam­son’s DNA pro­file.

DNA re­trieved from the trig­ger and grip of the gun had three dif­fer­ent DNA pro­files, one too small to test and one match­ing Sam­son. The other has yet to be iden­ti­fied, said Ce­les­tine.

Sam­son’s DNA was also on a bullet lodged into a win­dow frame, pieces of kitchen floor­ing, and a table and chair, said Ce­les­tine.

Wit­nesses ear­lier in the trial tes­ti­fied they heard a loud gun­shot from San­deson’s apart­ment, and saw a man cov­ered in blood slumped over in a chair as San­deson ran around say­ing, “I gotta clean up.’’

Ce­les­tine said Sam­son’s DNA was in­side a big black duf­fel bag and blue tarp re­cov­ered from the San­deson farm. She added that DNA was found on the strap and han­dles of the duf­fel bag, as well as on a garbage bag found with the bag.

Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors tes­ti­fied last week that the items were in­side an aban­doned ice cream truck on the farm.

De­fence lawyer Eu­gene Tan ques­tioned Ce­les­tine on po­ten­tial con­tam­i­na­tion, af­ter the lab re­port re­vealed there was a spill dur­ing the an­a­lyz­ing of the DNA sam­ples.

Ce­les­tine said that sam­ples were checked and tech­ni­cians con­firmed they had not been con­tam­i­nated in any way.


Wil­liam San­deson ar­rives for the start of his pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing at pro­vin­cial court in Hal­i­fax in this Fe­bru­ary 8, 2016, file photo. On Wed­nes­day a Hal­i­fax jury heard that San­deson, a med­i­cal stu­dent, was deeply in debt and un­der pres­sure from his par­ents about his spend­ing in the weeks be­fore he al­legedly mur­dered an­other stu­dent dur­ing a drug deal.

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