Med­i­cal stu­dent gets life term for mur­der

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALY THOM­SON

HAL­I­FAX — Wil­liam San­deson ar­ranged a drug deal to kill a fel­low univer­sity stu­dent and steal nine kilo­grams of mar­i­juana, a Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court judge said Tues­day be­fore sen­tenc­ing the for­mer med­i­cal stu­dent and track ath­lete to life in prison with no chance of pa­role for 25 years.

San­deson was charged two years ago with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of 22-year-old Hal­i­fax res­i­dent Tay­lor Sam­son, a physics stu­dent at Dal­housie Univer­sity whose body has yet to be found.

“Where’s Tay­lor, Will?” Sam­son’s mother Linda Boutilier shouted to San­deson as he was escorted out of the court­room.

The sen­tence and pa­role el­i­gi­bil­ity pe­riod are au­to­matic for a con­vic­tion of first-de­gree mur­der, though San­deson was given credit for 693 days in cus­tody.

When asked by Jus­tice Josh Arnold if he would like to ad­dress the court, the 24-year-old shook his head, and in a hushed tone replied, “No, my Lord.”

Sam­son’s brother, 22-year-old Con­nor Sam­son, told the court the crime has left him feel­ing lost and scared.

“I’m afraid to lose some­one who’s re­ally close to me,” he said in a vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

His voice broke as he spoke about his older brother, say­ing he now fears for the fam­ily’s safety.

San­deson, sport­ing a buzz-cut and a closely cropped beard, ap­peared emo­tion­less and stared in the di­rec­tion of Con­nor Sam­son as he read the state­ment dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing.

Arnold said it was on Aug. 15, 2015 that Tay­lor Sam­son went to San­deson’s down­town Hal­i­fax apart­ment to sell nine kilo­grams of mar­i­juana for $40,000 as part of a pre-ar­ranged deal.

Sam­son was last seen alive on a video record­ing cap­tured by San­deson’s sur­veil­lance sys­tem that night. There were no im­ages of Sam­son walk­ing out when po­lice re­viewed the record­ings, court heard.

The judge said San­deson shot Tay­lor Sam­son while he was sit­ting at a kitchen ta­ble.

Arnold then de­scribed the mo­ment a pair San­deson’s track team­mates looked in­side the apart­ment af­ter hear­ing what they be­lieved was a sin­gle gun­shot.

“Mr. Sam­son was slumped over in a chair, dead, with blood run­ning out of his head. Money and drugs were on and around the kitchen ta­ble cov­ered in Mr. Sam­son’s blood,” Arnold told the court.

“Mr. San­deson was run­ning around his apart­ment, not seek­ing to help Mr. Sam­son, but in­stead telling (his friends) that he had to clean up. He was pick­ing up bloody money.”

Arnold said DNA match­ing Sam­son’s ge­netic pro­file was re­cov­ered from a hand­gun, black duf­fel bag and other items seized from San­deson’s Henry Street apart­ment and his fam­ily’s farm in Truro, which is north of Hal­i­fax.

He said San­deson had a $200,000 line of credit that was co-signed by his mother to pay for med­i­cal school, but in Au­gust 2015 — be­fore he even started classes at Dal­housie Univer­sity — more than $70,000 of that money had been spent.

Crown lawyers had ar­gued San­deson, mo­ti­vated by greed, de­vised a scheme to kill Sam­son and steal the mar­i­juana to pay off his debts. Arnold said there was no ev­i­dence San­deson had $40,000 cash to pay for the drugs.

In his clos­ing ar­gu­ments, defence lawyer Eu­gene Tan con­ceded there was a “vi­o­lent in­ci­dent” at the apart­ment that night, but he said his client had al­ways main­tained there was some­one else in the apart­ment.

San­deson has re­port­edly filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to ap­peal his con­vic­tion.

In the court­room, Sam­son’s child­hood friend Ryan Wil­son stared at San­deson as he read a vic­tim im­pact state­ment Tues­day. He said Sam­son had a great sense of hu­mour and would laugh so loud “your ears would ring.”

Wil­son’s was one of 18 vic­tim im­pact state­ments filed with the court. Sev­eral were read aloud Tues­day.

At the time of his ar­rest, San­deson had al­ready com­pleted a year of med­i­cal school in the Caribbean, was a track and field ath­lete, worked two jobs and had a girl­friend. He was due to start med­i­cal school at Dal­housie Univer­sity within a week of the slay­ing.

DAR­REN CALABRESE, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Tay­lor Sam­son’s brother, Con­nor, and his mother, Linda Boutilier, cen­tre, leave the court­room with fam­ily and friends af­ter vic­tim im­pact state­ments were read in the drug mur­der trial of Wil­liam San­deson on Tues­day.

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