News / Halifax

'He's a psychopath:' Taylor Samson's mom on guilty verdict for William Sandeson

Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder in Samson's killing after the jury deliberated for 22 hours over four days.

Taylor Samson's mother Linda Boutilier is flanked by his grandmother Liz Samson, left, and his brother Connor Samson as they talk with reporters after the murder trial of William Sandeson at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, who was last seen on Aug. 15, 2015 and whose body has not been found.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Taylor Samson's mother Linda Boutilier is flanked by his grandmother Liz Samson, left, and his brother Connor Samson as they talk with reporters after the murder trial of William Sandeson at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, who was last seen on Aug. 15, 2015 and whose body has not been found.

She found relief in the verdict, but Taylor Samson’s mother won’t stop searching for justice until she can bring her son home.

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury found 24-year-old William Sandeson guilty of first-degree murder in 22-year-old Samson’s August 2015 killing after a two-month long trial on Sunday.

“I can actually sleep for a change,” Samson’s mother, Linda Boutilier, said after the verdict. “It’s like hell for 22 months.”

Boutilier now plans to continue looking for her son, as she has for almost two years.

“I want my son back. I’m going looking after this trial and I’m gonna find my son,” Boutilier said.

“If (Sandeson) doesn’t want to help us, then fine, I’ll find him on my own … I’m not gonna stop looking for Taylor. I’m bringing him home.”

Taylor Samson

Contributed

Taylor Samson

Samson’s family cheered, clapped and sobbed after the jury foreperson read the verdict, and one person said, “Thank you.”

As Sandeson was led out of the courtroom by sheriffs after the verdict, one person said, “Tell us where he is.” Boutilier called out, “Turn around and bow, Billy.”

“He’s a psychopath,” she said. “He has no feeling, no emotion, it’s all about him … He doesn’t care who he hurts. He destroyed his own family.”

Samson’s grandmother, Elizabeth Samson, thanked God for the guilty verdict, but said she feels sorry for Sandeson’s family.

“I do feel sorry for his family that they brought up a man like him,” she said.

Family and friends of Taylor Samson embrace after the murder trial of William Sandeson at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, who was last seen on Aug. 15, 2015 and whose body has not been found.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Family and friends of Taylor Samson embrace after the murder trial of William Sandeson at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, who was last seen on Aug. 15, 2015 and whose body has not been found.

A long-time friend of Samson’s who attended every day of the trial, Kaitlynne Lowe, said she was “thrilled” with the verdict.

“I hope, that if anything, this pushes him to tell us where Taylor is and bring him home,” Lowe said.

Lowe said it was nearly impossible to sum up who Samson was.

“He was just too big of a personality,” she said. “He wanted to do everything for the people that he loved, and he always gave back to everyone, which is why we’re all here today.”

Samson’s father, Dean Samson, wasn’t able to attend the trial due to his health, but waited at court for the jury’s verdict this weekend. Through tears, he said after the verdict that he was satisfied, but it’s been a “horror story.”

“My heart’s ripped out,” he said.

“I wish we knew where Taylor was.”

Taylor Samson walking down the hallway to William Sandeson's apartment the night of Aug. 15, 2015 -- the last time he was seen.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Taylor Samson walking down the hallway to William Sandeson's apartment the night of Aug. 15, 2015 -- the last time he was seen.

Samson was last seen on surveillance video the night of Aug. 15, 2015, walking into Sandeson’s Halifax apartment with a big black duffel bag for what he thought was a drug deal – 20 pounds, or nine kilograms, of marijuana for $40,000.

But he never walked out of that apartment.

With its verdict, the jury accepted the Crown’s theory that Samson was lured there and shot in the back of the head by Sandeson, all as part of a plan to pay off a line of credit.

The jurors saw 100 pieces of evidence, including a duffel bag, a shower curtain, a tarp, a bullet that was lodged in Sandeson’s window frame, and Sandeson’s handgun – all of which were found to contain Samson’s DNA.

They also heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, including two men who were next door to Sandeson’s apartment the night of Aug. 15. They told the jury they heard a gunshot and saw a lifeless, bleeding man slumped over in a chair in Sandeson’s apartment.

A photo of William Sandeson taken by police after his arrest for murder on Aug. 19, 2015.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

A photo of William Sandeson taken by police after his arrest for murder on Aug. 19, 2015.

Sandeson showed no emotion as the jury foreperson read out the guilty verdict.

Justice Josh Arnold gave him the automatic sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years, and Sandeson nodded.

Arnold set the sentencing date for July 11, when Samson’s family will have a chance to read victim impact statements.

Defence won’t say whether appeal planned

Saying he wanted to respect the jury and the families involved, William Sandeson’s lawyer wouldn’t say whether his client plans to appeal the verdict reached by the jury.

Defence lawyer Eugene Tan said he, his co-counsel Brad Sarson and Sandeson had “some strong thoughts” about an appeal, but wouldn’t say whether they’d pursue it.

Tan said it was a difficult case, made even more difficult by the fact that he was Sandeson’s friend before he was his lawyer.

“I think I take it a little more personally than I would otherwise,” Tan said.

Crown attorneys Susan MacKay and Kim McOnie said they were “grateful” to the police for their investigation, and they’re “happy that it’s over with now for the family.”

“I think it’s very important for everyone to understand the tremendous impact on families that this kind of horrible incident has,” MacKay said.

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