First-degree murder charge withdrawn in 2016 shooting death of Tyler Keizer

·2 min read
A first-degree murder charge against Adam Joseph Drake has been withdrawn. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
A first-degree murder charge against Adam Joseph Drake has been withdrawn. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

A first-degree murder charge against Adam Joseph Drake has been withdrawn just days before his trial was set to begin.

Drake, 29, was charged in connection with the November 2016 shooting death of Tyler Keizer, 22.

Keizer was shot in a sports utility vehicle in north-end Halifax on Nov. 21, 2016. He died later in hospital.

On Friday, Crown prosecutor Rick Hartlen told Justice Denise Boudreau that he was withdrawing the murder charge because there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction. He did not elaborate.

Boudreau reminded him that when she asked lawyers two weeks ago if this case was proceeding, they all said yes.

She said the withdrawal comes too late to schedule another trial in the specially constructed courthouse in Dartmouth.

The courthouse was built to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic but it has been used sparingly.

Keizer's family upset

Before he withdrew the charge, Hartlen had to break the news to Keizer's family.

"They're understandably upset," he said.

"They wanted a form of justice for a young man whose life was taken untimely and in a senseless and brutal act. And they turned to the courts and the justice system for that sense of justice and, obviously, they're not receiving it today."

Keizer was the 12th murder victim in Halifax in 2016, which was a particularly violent year in the city.

At the time of Drake's arrest, police said the two men knew one another, but they did not believe the shooting was linked to any of the other killings.

Drake's trial had originally been scheduled for March, but it was bumped to make room for another case that had dragged on even longer.

Hartlen said the murder charge can always be revived should the Crown discover new evidence.

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