Court sees video of William Sandeson denying meeting man he's accused of killing

A still from surveillance video shown to the jury in the William Sandeson trial on Tuesday.  (Nova Scotia Courts - image credit)
A still from surveillance video shown to the jury in the William Sandeson trial on Tuesday. (Nova Scotia Courts - image credit)

William Sandeson told police in August 2015 that he was supposed to meet Taylor Samson to do a drug deal, but the meeting never took place.

Sandeson's comments are contained in a recorded video interview he gave police, three days after Samson was last seen alive on Aug. 15, 2015. That video was played Wednesday at Sandeson's first-degree murder trial.

This is the second time Sandeson has faced a trial on this charge. A new trial was ordered in 2020 after a verdict from a trial in 2017 was overturned on appeal.

The Crown alleges that the meeting did take place, and that Sandeson shot Samson in the head and disposed of his body. Samson's remains have never been found.

Police were investigating Samson's disappearance as a missing person's case when they identified a phone number linked to Sandeson as having contacted Samson on the day he was last seen alive. They reached out to Sandeson and he agreed to come to Halifax Regional Police headquarters to meet with officers.

Halifax Regional Police
Halifax Regional Police

He was interviewed by RCMP Sgt. Charla Keddy on the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. She testified Wednesday that she took Sandeson into what she described as a "soft" interview room, a place reserved for questioning witnesses and victims, not suspects.

As the interview gets underway, Keddy can be heard on the video telling Sandeson that police were aware drugs were involved, but they weren't focusing on that — they were focusing on finding Samson.

Sandeson told the Mountie he'd last seen Samson on the previous Thursday when he sampled some marijuana Samson had for sale. Sandeson told Keddy he was disappointed with the quality of the marijuana Samson was selling.

"I was looking for something nice and this wasn't it," Sandeson can be heard telling Keddy.

Sandeson said Samson was disappointed they couldn't make a deal and the two men made plans to meet that weekend when Samson promised to have better stuff. The meeting was set for Saturday evening in Sandeson's apartment in south-end Halifax.

The two men exchanged text messages. Sandeson had deleted the texting app from his phone before meeting with police, but Keddy persuaded him to reinstall it. They then reviewed the texts together.

"I'm out back of the building," a text from Samson reads. "Is that your bike parked by the door?"

Sandeson replied "I'm walking out now."

"I walked out and he wasn't there," Sandeson told Keddy.

"I sat on my doorstep for a while, there are steps, he wasn't there."

A short time later, Sandeson sent Samson another text: "This isn't cool, man. You said you'd be right back."

The jury has already been shown images that were extracted from security cameras Sandeson had aimed at the hallway outside his apartment. They show Samson and Sandeson did get together that night.

Crown prosecutors said in an opening statement that it was after they reviewed the text messages that police became suspicious of Sandeson's claims that he never met Samson that night. The Crown alleges that Sandeson shot Samson to death moments after the two men entered Sandeson's apartment.