Tyler Noel pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder in Baylee Wylie case

Tyler Noel pleaded guilty Tuesday to the second-degree murder of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie in December 2015.

The second-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for a minimum of 10 years.

A judge will set the term for Noel's parole eligibility. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12 and 13.

A charge of first-degree murder in connection with Wylie's death was entered by the Crown on Tuesday. Noel pleaded not guilty to that charge, but then stated he would plead guilty to second-degree murder. The Crown agreed.

Noel, 19, also pleaded guilty to a charge of arson.

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Wylie's body was found on Dec. 17, 2015, in a burned-out triplex on Sumac Street in Moncton. He had been bound in plastic wrap, severely beaten while tied to a chair and stabbed up to 200 times.

His family said in a statement it will now focus on Noel's hearing to set parole eligibility.

"At first we were disappointed at the decision to even entertain a deal with Tyler [Noel] but today we feel relief with the knowledge he will be sentenced to 25 years, and we shift our focus to his hearing for parole eligibility and our opportunity to share the impact this horrific crime has had on our family," said the statement..

"We hope the the judge, when deciding his fate, takes into account the events, and the viciousness of what took place that night and Tyler's admitted part in it all, and that an appropriate sentence of parole eligibility will be rendered."

Marissa​ Shephard, the Moncton woman who is also accused of murdering Wylie in December 2015, waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Monday morning. Her case will proceed directly to trial in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Devin Morningstar, 19, was sentenced in January to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and arson in Wylie's death.

Statement of facts read

A statement of facts detailing Wylie's final hours was read in court by Crown prosecutor Eric Lalonde.

The statement began with Wylie, Morningstar and Noel arguing in Shephard's Sumac Street home over who should sleep with her.

It was decided Morningstar would share Shephard's bed, while Wylie and Noel would sleep in the living room.

The next day, Noel left the triplex to buy crack, which the group smoked together.

Lalonde said there was a second argument over the 21-year-old Shephard and which young man she wanted to be with. The court heard she chose Morningstar.

The amount of crack was another point of contention. The group decided the gram of crack looked to be too small. Wylie was accused of smoking it incorrectly and wasting the illicit drug.

Shephard then invited Morningstar to go upstairs and shower with her. He accepted and when they got there, she revealed she'd stolen a small piece of crack, which the two then smoked.

Afterward, a third argument erupted, during which Wylie threatened to go to the police to report both Morningstar and Noel for selling drugs and to report a .22-calibre gun hidden under the couch.

In response to Wylie's threats, Noel started beating the 18-year-old, tackling him to the ground.

"This is what happens to f--king rats," Noel said to Wylie, according to the statement of facts.

Face covered with plastic wrap

Wylie was then threatened with a gun, his face was covered with plastic wrap, with a hole poked in it so he could breath, and Shephard hit him with a broken bong.

Wylie pleaded for his attackers to stop, and eventually, the plastic wrap was removed from the young man's face. While the group agreed to go back to being friends, Noel reportedly told Morningstar privately: "This kid can't leave this house. The second he leaves this house, he's gonna run his mouth about what I just did to him."

The statement of facts continues: "At that point, it was decided that Mr. Wylie had to die."

As an excuse to assault Wylie, a plan was hatched to pretend he'd stolen marijuana.

Neighbour Helen Mandy testified that at about 10:30 p.m., she heard something that sounded like a steel pipe being struck against something hard. She said she heard someone screaming, "Ow, ow, please stop."

Noel admitted to tackling Wylie then beating and stabbing him. The statement of facts says both Shephard and Morningstar joined in.

Leaving Wylie for dead in the basement, Shephard, Noel and Morningstar went upstairs to "calm down."

During that time, Wylie managed to crawl up the basement stairs. He was caught by Noel with his hand on the knob of the back door.

Wylie suffered another beating, which he did not survive.

199 wounds, burns

"According to Dr. Naseemuddin's Pathologist Reports, the death of Mr. Wylie was caused by multiple sharp-force injuries to the neck, chest and abdomen," the statement of facts says. "He counted about 199 wounds and numerous burn marks."   

Once it was agreed that Wylie was dead, bleach and cleaning products were used to clean the body and the crime scene. Shephard and Noel lit three fires in the home to destroy the evidence.

During Morningstar's trial in 2016, the court heard that on one side of the triplex, Ashley Katzel Leblanc and her four young children, and on the other side Mandy and her two children, were all asleep, unaware of the fire next door.

Mandy was awakened by firefighters breaking down her door at 4 a.m. Katzel-LeBlanc awoke to the smoke alarm and bundled her children out of the unit.

Noel, Shephard and Morningstar were gone by the time the triplex was evacuated. They went to Morningstar's apartment, where they slept until the early afternoon. The .22 rifle was returned to Damien Pelletier, the man who sold it to Noel in the first place.

At Morningstar's trial, Pelletier testified that he took the gun, which he said was a Winchester .30-30, and tried to get the group out of his apartment as soon as possible.

"They were in trouble, but I didn't ask questions. I didn't want to know."

One attacker suicidal

On Dec. 17, 2015, Shephard and Noel left Morningstar.

A suicidal Morningstar was found by police, hiding under a blanket in an apartment on Broadway Street on Dec. 20, 2015. He was arrested then charged and later convicted of first-degree murder and arson with disregard for human life.

The RCMP issued a Canada-wide warrant for Shephard and Noel.

Shephard was on the run the longest. She was arrested more than two months after the murder at a Comfort Inn in Moncton, only a few kilometres from the murder scene.

Noel was caught after the RCMP received complaints about three young men being in a cottage in Elgin that didn't belong to them.