Nelson Lugela found guilty of second-degree murder in death of Calgary Stampeder
A Calgary judge handed down a guilty verdict on Monday at the trial for a man accused of killing Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks outside a nightclub over two years ago.
Hicks, 23, died in hospital after he was found shot outside the Marquee Beer Market on September 25, 2016.
Three people were taken into custody at the scene a short time later.
Nelson Lugela, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death and has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Hicks was a defensive back on the CFL team's practice roster.
During the trial court heard that the team was at the nightclub celebrating a win and that an argument over a spilled drink escalated into an altercation in the parking lot.
Witnesses told the court that they heard three shots fired outside the nightclub after it closed.
Some of Hicks’ teammates testified and told the court that they found Hicks on the ground ‘fighting for his life’.
According to witnesses, the shooter and two other young men jumped into an SUV and sped away.
During final arguments, Lugela’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, took issue with eye witness accounts of the shooter saying that they were not reliable.
The Crown argued that its case established Lugela’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
On Monday, Justice Keith Yamauchi outlined the reasons why Lugela could be convicted of either second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Hicks’ mother, Renee Hill, broke down in tears as the judge described details of the shooting.
Lugela sat with his shoulders slumped and his head down as the judge went over the facts in the case.
Yamauchi said, based on the evidence, that the court is satisfied that Nelson Lugela was the only person who fired a hand gun.
Hill raised her hands in the air and yelled ‘hallelujah’ as the judge found Lugela guilty of second-degree murder.
She spoke to reporters outside of court following the decision.
“I would still like to know why, even though I know why, there was no reason,” she said.
Hill said when you lose your child there is no closure but that she has received a lot of support.
“I’ll never close him out so there is no closure. What it does is set aside some of the heart-wrenching, heart-breaking redundant statements and witness things that I had to hear in there that caused me to storm out. Every time I heard, every time I heard I hit him twice and it doesn’t look good for him, every time I heard the prosecutor of the defence raise the issue, that he aimed, he shot, I took that below. Those were personal hits to me. I felt them in my gut,” she said. “I lost one son but I gained, I wanna say, a million. Here in Calgary from the Stamps and other supporting teams outside the Stamps, just around Canada and the U.S.”
Crown prosecutor, Gordon Haight, said he thought the evidence supported the verdict.
“We felt it was the appropriate decision,” he said.
He said that they have not yet made a decision regarding parole ineligibility but he did say it would be a ‘substantial’ step up from the minimum.
“First of all, that a firearm was used, the firearm had to have been loaded. The senseless nature of this killing, it almost fits the dictionary definition of senseless. Amounted to a killing over what amounted to no more than a spilled drink, we find that highly aggravating. Those are just a couple of the aggravating factors,” he said.
A sentencing date for Lugela has been set for May 30th at 9:00 a.m.