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Nova Scotia

N.S. Supreme Court: Sandeson’s finances discussed in text messages



DARTMOUTH, NS — William Michael Sandeson texted his parents about his financial situation before and after he allegedly killed a fellow Dalhousie University student during a drug deal, according to evidence presented at his murder trial on Tuesday.

The Crown alleges that Taylor Samson was shot dead at Sandeson’s Henry Street apartment in Halifax on the night of August 15, 2015 after he went there to sell him nine kilograms of marijuana.

Samson’s remains have never been found.

Sandeson was arrested three days later on alleged kidnapping but was later charged with first-degree murder.

The trial began Jan. 9 in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Dartmouth.

This is the second trial to indict Sandeson, 30. The verdict from the first trial in 2017 was overturned by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals in 2020.

In the Crown’s opening statement three weeks ago, prosecutor Carla Ball told the jury that Sandeson, who was about to begin medical school at Dalhousie, murdered Samson over the drugs so he could pay off a $78,000 debt that he had received built on a line of credit He and his mother opened in 2013.

On Tuesday, the Crown called evidence from Gilles Marchand, a digital forensic analyst with the RCMP who processed three iPhones seized by investigators in August 2015. Two of the phones belonged to Sandeson and the other to his then-girlfriend, the court heard.

Marchand testified he extracted text messages from one of Sandeson’s phones after police were given the password.

Gilles Marchand, a digital forensic analyst with the RCMP, is waiting to testify Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of William Michael Sandeson.  -Steve Bruce
Gilles Marchand, a digital forensic analyst with the RCMP, is waiting to testify Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of William Michael Sandeson. -Steve Bruce

QC Kim McOnie referred the jury to texts exchanged between Sandeson’s device and his parents’ phones.

In a May 3, 2015 message, Sandeson appears to have asked his mother how much money was left in an RESP.

“I would have to check on William,” his mother replied the next day.

She said to have a statement at home and to check it in the evening.

On May 6, 2015, she told Sandeson that she called CIBC about her RESP account.

“I’ll update you on the status when I hear from you,” Laurie Sandeson wrote. “Sounds like you’re looking for financial support?”

William Sandeson responded that he was expecting a “much bigger” $1,000 tax refund.

On May 7, 2015, Laurie Sandeson texted William to provide proof of registration in order to withdraw funds from the RESP. She suggested a payout of $2,000 to $3,000.

“We only have one RESP account, but we’ve tried to split the amount per child,” she wrote. “You didn’t take much of that with you during your three-year degree.”

“Save it,” William wrote. “I’m fine without.”

mother “crazy”

On July 17, 2015, William Sandeson received a text message from his father Michael’s phone saying, “Laurie got mail today. She’s mad about the line of credit.”

“Well she doesn’t have to,” William replied. “Will be paid this September.”

On August 17, 2015, two days after Samson was allegedly killed, William Sandeson wrote to his father that he had been awarded a $7,000 college scholarship.

“Where is the party?” Michael Sanderson wrote back.

“Haha, no party tonight,” William said, adding that he had to drive his girlfriend to work early the next morning.

Marchand also found chat messages between Sandeson and a woman he had saved in his contacts as Amanda Clarkie.

On August 16, 2015, at 5:02 a.m., less than seven hours after the murder, Sandeson reportedly texted Clarkie, stating, “The student loan paid off and I’m absolutely squeaky clean now. Market shares sold away.”

“That’s great!” said Clarkie. “Mine will never be paid off.”

lone witness

Marchand was the only person called to testify Tuesday, so the 13-member jury was sent home before noon. The trial will not take place on Wednesday because the courtroom is needed for jury selection for another murder trial.

Judge James Chipman told jurors Thursday could be another short day as the Crown plans to call only one witness.

So far, the jury has heard from about 40 key witnesses, with 90 submitted exhibits.

On Monday, two of Sandeson’s former teammates on the Dalhousie track team — Justin Blades and Pookiel McCabe — testified that they were across the hall from McCabe’s apartment when they heard a gunshot on the night of August 15, 2015.

They said they looked into Sandeson’s apartment and saw a man slumped in a chair at the kitchen table.

Blades said the man was bleeding from his forehead. He said the floor was covered in blood and money was scattered on the floor and on the table.

The men said they peeked into Sandeson’s apartment again a few minutes later to tell him they were going to a party.

“Buddy was out of the chair and there were streak marks going down the hall toward the bathroom,” Blades said. He said Sandeson asked him to “bring the car over,” but he declined.

However, McCabe said the man was still hunched over in his chair. He denied saying anything to Sandeson about Blades.

The two men did not comment on what they saw when they were first questioned by police in August 2015, but gave new statements in October 2016.

Among the reasons Blades gave for not initially telling police what he saw was that he feared retaliation because he believed Sandeson was connected to the Hells Angels.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Sandeson was actually connected to the Hells Angels,” said an admission filed in evidence Tuesday. “Rather, Mr. Blades had the mental state he was.”

The Crown also filed an admission that there has been no activity on Samson’s RBC bank account or credit card since August 10, 2015.

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