N.S. Court of Appeal orders new murder trial in Matthew Sudds killing

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Nova Scotia's highest court has ordered a new trial for one of two men accused of killing Matthew Sudds in October 2013.

Sudds's body was found along the side of Africville Road near the Bedford Basin in Halifax seven years ago. He had been shot once in the head.

Ricardo Jerrel Whynder was arrested in 2017 and charged with first-degree murder in Sudds's death. A jury convicted Whynder of second-degree murder in a trial in March 2019. The conviction carried an automatic life sentence.

Whynder appealed, and in a decision released Friday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial on the charge of second-degree murder.

Whynder's lawyer did not dispute that his client was present when Sudds was shot. But he argued that the Crown had failed to prove Whynder knew ahead of time that the other man, Devlin Glasgow, allegedly intended to kill Sudds.

The Crown's case relied heavily on Whynder's behaviour after the homicide, including him lying to Sudds's mother about her son's whereabouts and leaving Halifax with Devlin on a flight to Toronto the day after the killing.

Craig Paisley/CBC
Craig Paisley/CBC

The Court of Appeal found the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on how they could use the evidence about Whynder's actions after the killing to determine whether he was guilty of murder.

The Crown presented evidence that Whynder and Sudds had several phone conversations in the hours leading up to the murder and that Sudds was last seen alive on security video, getting into a black Dodge Charger in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant on Young Street.

Whynder's girlfriend had rented a black Dodge Charger two days before the murder. The car was returned to the rental agency the day after the murder, and a police forensic examination found gunshot residue, blood from Sudds and DNA from Glasgow, but nothing tying the car to Whynder.

Glasgow is scheduled to go on trial next year on a charge of first-degree murder.