James Thomas convicted of 2nd-degree murder, robbery in Alex Norwegian death

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Alex Norwegian was remembered by family, friends and his first love at a celebration of life event in his honour in 2018. James George Thomas was found guilty of 2nd-degree murder on Tuesday.  (Randi Beers/CBC - image credit)
Alex Norwegian was remembered by family, friends and his first love at a celebration of life event in his honour in 2018. James George Thomas was found guilty of 2nd-degree murder on Tuesday. (Randi Beers/CBC - image credit)

A Hay River man was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder and robbery in connection with the death of another man on a remote road in the community on Boxing day in 2017.

James George Thomas showed little emotion in the Yellowknife courtroom when Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mahar said he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Thomas killed and robbed Alex Norwegian almost four years ago.

Thomas was initially charged with first-degree murder and robbery, along with co-accused Levi Cayen.

Cayen is scheduled to begin a five-week trial on Jan. 17 on the matter.

A publication ban barring the release of details on Mahar's decision is in effect until the end of Cayen's trial, to avoid influencing potential jurors.

The publication ban applies to all evidence, counsel's submissions and exhibits presented during Thomas's trial, as well as Mahar's explanation for his verdict.

Members of Norwegian's and Thomas's family were at the courtroom to hear the verdict. Due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions, some people who showed up for the verdict had to sit in the waiting area outside the courtroom and view the proceedings on a monitor.

Two others who were charged in connection with Norwegian's death, Sasha Cayen and Tyler Cayen, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and accessory to manslaughter respectively in connection with the case in January 2019.

Sasha was sentenced to three years and seven months and Tyler to two years less a day.

A date for Thomas's sentencing will be set next week.

Mahar said he expects the sentencing to take place next month in Hay River with a pre-sentence report.

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