San­deson trial

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

Pros­e­cu­tor says Tay­lor Sam­son was last seen alive in a Hal­i­fax apart­ment build­ing rented by the man ac­cused of killing him.

Po­lice de­tected DNA match­ing the ge­netic profile of Tay­lor Sam­son on a gun and a bul­let found in the Hal­i­fax apart­ment rented by the med­i­cal stu­dent ac­cused of killing him in the midst of a drug deal, a Crown at­tor­ney said Thurs­day in her dra­matic open­ing ad­dress to for­mer Lower Truro res­i­dent Wil­liam San­deson’s mur­der trial.

Crown lawyer Su­san MacKay said the gun was found af­ter po­lice made an emer­gency en­trance into the apart­ment “be­cause they were con­cerned that Mr. Sam­son was be­ing held hostage there” – this af­ter po­lice read text mes­sages be­tween the two Dal­housie Univer­sity stu­dents.

“Foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion of the scene re­vealed sev­eral places that looked like blood, or blood that had been cleaned up,” MacKay told the jury in Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court.

“DNA with the profile match­ing Tay­lor Sam­son’s was found on the gun. Po­lice also lo­cated a bul­let lodged in the win­dow cas­ing in the kitchen. The bul­let was tested for DNA, and DNA with a profile consistent with Tay­lor Sam­son’s DNA profile was found on that, too.”

San­deson, 24, was charged with first-de­gree mur­der on Aug. 20, 2015, four days af­ter Sam­son, a 22-year-old physics stu­dent, was re­ported miss­ing. His body has yet to be found.

On the night he was killed, Sam­son left his fra­ter­nity house on South Street in Hal­i­fax, telling his girl­friend he would not be long – but he never re­turned, MacKay said.

“Although, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, (his girl­friend) at first was

re­luc­tant to tell po­lice about Tay­lor hav­ing been in­volved in drug deal­ing, once po­lice re­al­ized that he was, this in­creased their level of con­cern about his dis­ap­pear­ance,” MacKay said.

The last time Sam­son was seen alive, MacKay said, he was recorded on a sur­veil­lance video walk­ing into San­deson’s apart­ment to sell 20 pounds of mar­i­juana to the ac­cused for $40,000.

“You will see a video show­ing the ac­cused walk­ing ahead of Tay­lor Sam­son to­ward the apart­ment door,” MacKay told the jury. “Tay­lor Sam­son is car­ry­ing what looks like a bulky hockey-style black duf­fle bag.”

MacKay said San­deson had set up three, mo­tion-ac­ti­vated video cam­eras that cap­tured images from the ad­ja­cent stair­case, hall­way and from out­side the build­ing.

Although po­lice never found Sam­son’s cell­phone, in­ves­ti­ga­tors were able to ob­tain the last phone num­ber he di­alled on the night he dis­ap­peared, MacKay said. That num­ber led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to San­deson.

When po­lice tried to con­tact San­deson, the ac­cused first went to his apart­ment, where he re­moved garbage bags and other items - ac­tions all cap­tured by his video cam­eras, court heard.

“Later ex­am­i­na­tion of the (video) con­tents shows him walk­ing with these things through the hall­way and out­side his apart­ment while wear­ing coloured gloves,” MacKay said.

Dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view, San­deson de­scribed dif­fer­ent ver­sions of his en­counter with Sam­son, the lawyer said.

She said data taken from cell­phone tow­ers showed San­deson’s phone was in the Truro area later that night, where his fam­ily has a farm.

“A later search of this prop­erty by po­lice, fol­low­ing (San­deson’s) ar­rest, turned up items match­ing the de­scrip­tion of what Wil­liam San­deson was seen re­mov­ing from his apart­ment,” MacKay said.

Court heard po­lice also re­cov­ered a shower curtain and a pair of gloves re­sem­bling the ones from the video.

“They also found a large, black, hockey-style duf­fle bag with a ripped shoul­der strap,” MacKay said. “DNA found at the scene con­tained the profile that matched the DNA profile of Tay­lor Sam­son.”

Later in the day, Sam­son’s mother wept as MacKay showed her a photo of her son.

Un­der cross ex­am­i­na­tion, Linda Boutilier said she was aware her son was sell­ing drugs, but she had thought it was small amounts.

The ac­cused, who is a for­mer var­sity track ath­lete, sat at his lawyers’ ta­ble through­out the pro­ceed­ings, oc­ca­sion­ally re­fer­ring to a lap­top com­puter and doc­u­ments spread out in front of him.

The trial is sched­uled to re­sume Mon­day and is ex­pected to take 32 court days.


Crown at­tor­ney Su­san MacKay ar­rives for the start of the trial for Wil­liam San­deson at Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court in Hal­i­fax on Thurs­day.


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