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Randy Riley found guilty, Nathan Johnson’s appeal denied in murder of Chad Smith

Donald Chad Smith was fatally shot while attempting to deliver a pizza to an apartment building in Dartmouth in 2010. Global News

After 29 hours of deliberations, a jury at Nova Scotia Supreme Court delivered its decision on Monday, finding a Halifax-area man guilty of second-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of a pizza delivery man.

The jury found Randy Riley not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Chad Smith, but ruled that he was guilty of second-degree murder as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.

Smith, a father of two, had recently started a job at Panada Pizza in Dartmouth. He was fatally shot by a shotgun while attempting to make a delivery at 15 Joseph Young Street. 

The Crown has alleged that Smith was lured to the apartment complex over a grudge that Riley held against him. According to the Crown, the dispute occurred years before the shooting when Smith had allegedly beaten Riley with a hammer.

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READ MORE: Childhood friend of Randy Desmond Riley testifies at first-degree murder trial in Halifax

As a result of Riley’s conviction, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has released its decision rejecting Nathan Johnson’s bid for an appeal in the same crime.

The court had originally heard Johnson’s appeal application on Jan. 25, 2017.

Although both Riley and Johnson had been jointly charged with Smith’s death, Riley had successfully severed his prosecution from Johnson.

Johnson, who was convicted of first-degree murder in Smith’s death, was found to not have taken direct action in Smith’s shooting but instead took part in the planning and placed the call that would lure Smith to the address where he was shot.

Johnson has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

However, as a result of Riley’s trial, the decision was sealed under a publication ban so as to not prejudice potential jurors.

WATCH: Murder trial continues in Halifax

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Murder trial continues in Halifax

The appeal documents show that Johnson had attempted to appeal his first-degree murder conviction on the grounds that the original trial judge had made three errors.

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Johnson alleged that the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury when providing context of the offence of first-degree murder, he made an error in admitting inadmissible hearsay evidence and made an error when informing the jury on how to apply hearsay evidence.

The panel of three judges rejected all of Smith’s challenges to the original decision.

“The unlawfulness of a shotgun blast into the chest of the victim delivering pizza is patent,” Judge J.A. Beveridge wrote in the appeal courts decision.

Riley has yet to be sentenced. He’s scheduled to appear in court on May 10 at 9 a.m., where a date for his sentencing will be set.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic penalty of life in prison.

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