The murder conviction has been upheld for a Calgary man who described in "excruciating detail" to an undercover officer the final, violent moments of a teenager he killed on Christmas Day.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal rejected Terry Wingert's bid to have a manslaughter conviction substituted for his second-degree murder conviction, finding the trial judge, Justice Scott Brooker, had not erred in his decision.
Wingert, 51, was convicted in the 2013 death of Anthony Fernandez, 19, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years.
Two years after Fernandez's death, Wingert was arrested following an undercover operation which ended in a confession.
'Freely and voluntarily confessed'
But during the trial and in his appeal, Wingert argued his story to the undercover officer was embellished, designed to impress a new friend and that he didn't mean to kill Fernandez. He initially tried to plead guilty to manslaughter.
"Essentially, the appellant's argument was that he told a pack of lies to impress his new friend," reads a passage from the 15-page appeal decision.
"Having viewed and listened to the videotaped conversation, the trial judge did not get that impression. Nor did we after similarly viewing and listening to the video."
Alberta's top court found that Wingert "freely and voluntarily confessed" to the police officer he trusted and whom he'd come to think of as a good friend.
"The appellant explained to the police officer that for some time he had wanted to tell somebody about what he had done.
On Christmas Day 2013, Fernandez, a small-time dial-a-dope dealer, was lured to an alley in the northeast community of Bridgeland by Wingert and another man, who has never been charged.
The pair had run out of money after spending days bingeing on crack cocaine over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Wingert and his friend arranged to meet Fernandez so they could rob him but then became paranoid the victim would be able to identify them to his drug supplier.
They first tried to kill Fernandez by strangling him with an electrical cord before beating him to death and setting his car on fire. Fernandez's body was found in his burned-out Mazda6 two days after Christmas.
'You're not hiding, man. You're done'
In the spring and summer of 2015, Calgary officers posed as petty criminals and befriended Wingert, who eventually confessed.
The court of appeal agreed with the trial judge that critical elements of Wingert's statement to police were corroborated by evidence found at the crime scene and that the 51-year-old did intend to kill his victim.
Wingert told the undercover officer who befriended him that Fernandez tried to protect himself by hiding his head under the back seat of the car.
The killer said he told the victim: "You're not hiding, man. You're done."