Canada’s High Court Upholds First-Degree Conviction Against BC Killer

The Canadian Supreme Court decision released Thursday is in accordance with a BC Court of Appeals ruling last year that raised Darren Sundman’s conviction from second-degree murder to first-degree.


Canada’s Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man convicted of a January 2015 murder near Prince George.

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The Canadian Supreme Court decision released Thursday is in agreement with a BC Court of Appeals ruling last year that raised Darren Sundman’s conviction from second-degree murder to first-degree and imposed a minimum sentence of 25 years. in prison before being eligible for parole.

Sundman was originally convicted and sentenced in 2018 for the murder of 24-year-old Jordan McLeod, with both men described in the high court sentencing as “drug dealers with mutual animosity.”

The lower court was told that Sundman confined McLeod to a moving vehicle and when McLeod jumped out of the truck and ran, Sundman chased after him and shot him, before an accomplice fired the fatal shot.

The Crown appealed to the British Columbia High Court after the trial judge ruled that Sundman could not be convicted of first-degree murder because McLeod was no longer being held against his will when he was killed.

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In his decision, supported by eight other Canadian Supreme Court Justices, Justice Mahmoud Jamal upholds Sundman’s first-degree conviction, writing that “although (McLeod) was not physically restrained outside the truck, continued to be coercively subjected through violence, fear and intimidation.”

When a murder is not planned or deliberate, it becomes first-degree murder if it is committed at the same time as one of several enumerated “domination crimes,” Jamal says.

“Parliament has treated the homicide committed in relation to these crimes of domination as especially serious and deserving of the exceptional penalty for first-degree murder,” says the sentence.

McLeod was still illegally confined when he was chased down and shot, Jamal says.

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“The illegal imprisonment and the murder were close in time, and involved a continuous course of domination. As a result, the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction is warranted,” he says.

Two other men convicted of the murder did not participate in the high court appeal.

Sebastian Martin, who turned 40 this year, fired the shot that killed McLeod, but the court ruled he was not involved in the victim’s unlawful confinement.

Sundman’s younger brother, Kurtis, was also sentenced in July 2018 to just under eight years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

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