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1st-degree murder conviction upheld for Calgary man in swarming death

Click to play video: 'Canada’s top court dismisses appeals for 2 men convicted in Calgary swarming death' Canada’s top court dismisses appeals for 2 men convicted in Calgary swarming death
WATCH (Nov. 15, 2019): The Supreme Court of Canada has tossed out appeals for two men found guilty in the swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird. As Jayme Doll reports, the victim’s family says it is finally feeling something other than just pain. – Nov 15, 2019

Alberta’s top court has upheld a first-degree murder conviction for a man found guilty in the swarming death of a young man outside a Calgary nightclub.

Nathan Gervais was originally scheduled to stand trial in May 2016, along with four other men, in the death of 18-year-old Lukas Strasser-Hird.

Hird was beaten and stabbed outside the Vinyl nightclub following an argument in 2013.

READ MORE: Crime Beat podcast: The final homecoming of Lukas Strasser-Hird, Part 2

Gervais fled to Vietnam weeks before the trial was to begin.

Franz Cabrera and Assmar Shlah were found guilty of second-degree murder. Joch Pouk was found guilty of manslaughter, while a fourth suspect was acquitted.

Click to play video: 'Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling' Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling
Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling – Mar 20, 2020

Gervais was arrested in Vietnam in 2018. He was returned to Calgary to face trial and was convicted of first-degree murder the following year.

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He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

READ MORE: Convicted killer in Lukas Strasser-Hird swarming death applies for bail 3rd time pending appeal

Gervais appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial judge erred by ruling that he had killed someone while committing another offence — forcible confinement — and was guilty of first-degree murder. Gervais asked the Appeal court to substitute the conviction with second-degree murder.

Click to play video: 'Supreme Court dismisses appeals in swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird' Supreme Court dismisses appeals in swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird
Supreme Court dismisses appeals in swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird – Nov 15, 2019

The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice William Tilleman, did not make an error in his verdict.

“The judge stated and applied the correct legal principles regarding the requirement that confinement be continuous and be distinct from the act of killing,” wrote Justice Marina Paperny.

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READ MORE: Crime Beat podcast — The final homecoming of Lukas Strasser-Hird, Part 1

“The trial judge concluded the confinement started when Mr. Gervais and his friends blocked the exit at the front of the Vinyl and continued until Mr. Strasser-Hird was pinned against the dumpster in the alley.

“It was Mr. Gervais’ actions both at the front and rear alley of the Vinyl that prevented Mr. Strasser-Hird from leaving safely.”

Click to play video: 'Lukas Strasser-Hird family clings to memories of murdered teen' Lukas Strasser-Hird family clings to memories of murdered teen
Lukas Strasser-Hird family clings to memories of murdered teen – Jun 17, 2016

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