William Sandeson murder trial hears full day of testimony ahead of holiday weekend
The seven-woman, seven-man jury sitting on the first-degree murder trial of Dalhousie medical student William Sandeson heard a full day of evidence on Thursday.
Sandeson, 24, is accused of killing fellow Dalhousie student Taylor Samson, 22.
Samson was studying physics and about to start his fifth year of university when he disappeared in August, 2015. His body has never been found.
WATCH: Murder trial hears from police, Taylor Samson’s girlfriend
Staff Sgt. Andre Habib, a forensic identification officer with Halifax Regional Police was the first witness on the stand Thursday.
The crown had questioned Habib the previous day but court ended before the defence had an opportunity to complete their cross-examination.
Lawyer Eugene Tan questioned Habib about what protective clothing he wore when at Sandeson’s apartment on Henry Street. He told the court he wore both gloves and booties.
The defence also questioned Habib about his experience using a trajectory kit. He testified not only did he take a two month course but he also did a seminar with a firearms expert in Calgary a few years ago.
Habib told the court he was not a ballistic expert but that he and other identification officers are able to use the trajectory kit to determine which way an object, like a bullet, may have come from.
Habib also testified that he was involved in the search at the Sandeson family property in Lower Truro, N.S.
He said he had been involved in searches of that nature “numerous times” and was satisfied that police did the best they could at the scene. “We left no stone unturned,” he told the jury.
WATCH: William Sandeson murder trial hears police searched family farm looking for body
The second witness to testify on Thursday was Rick Chadwick who currently works with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Chadwick told the court before going to RBC he worked as an RCMP officer.
Chadwick says he was served a production order – which requires documents to be made available to law enforcement – for the banking information of Taylor Samson.
He told the court that Samson was a client at the bank for eight years and had an everyday account, a tax-free savings account and a MasterCard.
Chadwick testified that until August 13, 2015, there was “actual activity by the client.” Following Samson’s disappearance, the only activity he said was on the accounts was automatic.
WATCH: Former teammate of William Sandeson tells court he saw bleeding man, bloody cash
Two volunteers with Ground Search and Rescue were also called as crown witnesses.
Wayne Burns, a volunteer with search and rescue for 15-years, told the court that he and a team of volunteers searched the farm property for hours.
Burns was the one who located the refrigerated ice cream truck and informed police. He testified he looked inside and saw three bags but did not enter the truck.
Lawrence Corbin, also a volunteer searcher, testified that when he arrived to search at the farm in August 2015 he was told by officials that searchers could possibly find human remains. None were ever located.
Corbin and his team found a pair of gloves located in some brush, not far from where the ice cream truck was. He told the court that he flagged the gloves and called his command centre before searching the rest of the area.
Cpl. Shawn Reynolds, an RCMP officer, was the incident commander for the Sandeson farm search. He told the court that he helped coordinate and run the search, as well as pass information along to the Halifax Regional Police major crime unit.
Reynolds said he was notified by search and rescue that a pair of gloves were located and helped seize them. He also secured the scene where the ice cream truck was located until ident officers arrived to process it.
David Webber, a civilian member of the RCMP was also called to the stand. He is a forensic lab technician and was tasked with examining Sandeson’s DVR.
He told the court that although the DVR was passport protected he found a back door to access the video. Webber testified that he was able to dump video from Aug. 13-18, 2015 from the DVR and give it to investigators.
Webber said he did not splice or edit any of the video. After the initial video dump from Aug. 13-18, Webber said he was able to go back and locate video for two and a half months, which was also turned over to investigators.
Under cross-examination, Webber admitted he originally thought he had discarded his notes from the case but later found them.
WATCH: Last images of Taylor Samson shown to jury in William Sandeson murder trial
The final witness to take the stand Thursday was Det. Const. Jonathan Jefferies, a Halifax Regional Police officer. He told the court that he was the scene coordinator for the farm search.
Jefferies said he executed a search warrant at the property and explained to William Sandeson’s father what police would be doing.
When questioned by defence lawyer Brad Sarson, Jefferies said that police and volunteer ground search rescue members did search some property that was not covered under the search warrant. However, Jefferies said they asked the owners of the property if they could search there and had them sign consent forms.
Jefferies was also tasked with getting a DNA sample from Sandeson after he was arrested and remanded to the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. While there, he also told the court he questioned Sandeson about the whereabouts of Samson’s body but Sandeson did not speak about it.
The trial is scheduled to sit for 32 days over the course of eight weeks.
The case does not hear evidence on Friday and because Monday is a statutory holiday, the jury is scheduled to resume hearing testimony on Tuesday morning.
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