The fate of a murder suspect and that of a convicted killer will be two of the major news stories out of Calgary courts in 2019.
Lawyers in the Nelson Lugela second-degree murder trial have filed their written submissions and will supplement those with oral arguments in January, before Justice Keith Yamauchi rules on the man’s guilt or innocence.
Lugela is charged in connection with the shooting death of Calgary Stampeders’ defensive back Mylan Hicks, gunned down as he stood outside the Marquee Beer Market after closing time the morning of Sept. 25, 2016.
Crown prosecutors Gord Haight and Tom Spark want Yamauchi to find Lugela was the gunman, but defence counsel Alain Hepner called a witness in December who put the deadly weapon in another man’s hand.
Edward Downey’s guilt has already been determined, but how long he’ll have to stay behind bars before he can even hope for release is something to be determined in 2019.
Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail has indicated she will be seeking consecutive periods of parole ineligibility for Downey, who was convicted Dec. 19 of two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Calgary mom Sara Baillie and her little girl, Taliyah Marsman.
If MacPhail is successful, Downey, who was 46 when he murdered Baillie and the five-year-old girl in July 2016, won’t be able to seek full parole until he’s 96.
Defence counsel Gavin Wolch will argue Downey’s parole ineligibility should be set at 25 years.
A date for his sentencing hearing will be determined in January.
Defence lawyers Adriano Iovinelli, Tonii Roulston and Hepner will have their hands full in the first half of 2019, as they each try to defend two men accused of murder in separate trials.
Roulston represents Theo Wheyee and Iovinelli his brother Julius Wheyee, who are set to go to trial along with a third suspect, Saad Osman, in early February.
They’re charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 18, 2015, death of Mohammed Saqib, whose body was found in a burned out vehicle north of Airdrie.
Roulston will also act for Mitchell Harkes as he stands trial for the second time in April in connection with the Jan. 12, 2013, killing of U of C student Brett Wiese at a Brentwood house party.
Harkes, whose original conviction for second-degree murder was overturned by the Court of Appeal, is accused of an unprovoked attack on Wiese, who was a party guest.
Iovinelli will also represent Fuad Yasir Ali, who is charged with second-degree murder in the Aug. 17, 2015, death of Mustafe Mohamud Hussein.
Hussein died weeks after being hospitalized in a coma following a July 3, 2015, altercation in the 100 block of 10th Avenue S.E.
Ali’s trial begins Monday.
Along with finishing up Lugela, Hepner will represent murder suspects Nathan Gervais and Mohamad Rafih in trials in January and May.
Gervais is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 23, 2013, swarming death of Calgary teen Lukas Strasser-Hird, while Rafih faces the same charge in connection with the April 30, 2017, shooting death of city dad Tim Voytilla.
Other high-profile cases set for 2019:
- In March, Daniel Nel, a former associate pastor with Calgary’s Rockyview Alliance Church, will stand trial for manslaughter in connection with the Sept. 1, 2015, death of his three-month-old son, Cyrus.
- In April, Keeton Michel Gagnon is scheduled to stand trial for second-degree murder in connection with what police said was the unprovoked stabbing death of Calgary dad Nicholas Ozoechi Nwonye, on a City Hall LRT platform.
- On May 22, one-time food saboteur Tatyana Granada is scheduled to face sentencing in connection with the May 16, 2017, assault of a government worker, whose face she spat on.
- In October, Tewodros Mutugeta Kebede and Yu Chieh Liao, who goes by Diana Liao, with stand trial for first-degree murder in the death of Hanock Afowerk. Glynnis Fox, 36, Cody Pfeiffer, 25, and Tiffany Ear, 39, were found dead in a burning car in Sage Hill on July 10, 2017, and Afowerk’s body was discovered two days later near Hwy. 22 and Hwy. 8. Kebede faces an additional charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder, while Liao faces three counts of the same charge in connection with the trio’s deaths.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts
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