The appeal hearing for a former medical student who was found guilty of killing another student in Halifax is set to begin Monday.
William Michael Sandeson was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Taylor Samson, whose body has never been found.
Samson was last seen alive on video walking into Sandeson’s apartment on Henry Street in August 2015. He was never seen leaving the apartment.
During the trial, the court heard Sandeson and Samson were involved in a drug deal that went wrong. The Crown said Samson went to Sandeson’s apartment to sell him nine kilograms of marijuana for $40,000.
READ MORE: Convicted Dalhousie killer William Sandeson appeals murder conviction
Prosecutors argued that Sandeson made a plan to kill Samson, then steal the marijuana to help pay off his debts. They said Samson was shot by Sandeson while sitting at the kitchen table.
Samson was studying physics at Dalhousie University when he disappeared. At the time of his arrest, Sandeson had completed one year of medical school in the Caribbean and was slated to start medical school at Dalhousie within a week of Samson’s death.
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Sandeson was found guilty of murder in the first degree in June of 2017, after 22 hours of jury deliberation. The charge carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Grounds for the appeal
The former medical student filed a notice of appeal shortly after his conviction.
The grounds for the appeal are that Sandeson was detained prior to his first interview and denied a right to counsel, that his cellphone was illegally searched and seized, that his apartment was illegally searched and that information shared by Bruce Webb — a private investigator hired by the defence but helped the police in making their case — violated his solicitor-client privilege.
Sandeson wants his first-degree murder conviction to be set aside and for a new trial to be ordered on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
READ MORE: Convicted murderer William Sandeson’s appeal hearing set for next year
The former medical student was actively involved in his own defence. During the trial, his lawyers said he reviewed “every report” and watched “every piece of video” that was presented in court. He also took a paralegal course while in prison to better understand his case.
In another court case, Sandeson was awarded nearly $700 after accusing his former roommate Dylan Zinck-Selig of stealing $2,500 worth of sneakers and homemade wine from their apartment.
The appeal hearing can be viewed here via livestream on the Nova Scotia Supreme Court website.
The panel presiding over the matter includes Justice David Farrar, Justice Jamie Saunders, and Justice Carole Beaton.
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