Canada New trial ordered for 'tag-along' in Michael Swan murder

14:53  10 july  2018
14:53  10 july  2018 Source:   ottawacitizen.com

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Handout photo of Michael Swan--murder victim; Michael (Mike) Swan© Merlin, > Handout photo of Michael Swan--murder victim; Michael (Mike) Swan

Michael Swan’s family will have to sit through a fourth trial after a judge set aside the murder conviction of one of the 19-year-old’s killers.

Kyle Mullen, who supplied the murder weapon and was one of three masked intruders who stormed into Swan’s home in a drug rip turned murder, will once again stand trial after the province’s appeal court found that his trial judge erred when instructing the jury that convicted Mullen of second-degree murder.

Swan was killed in a Barrhaven home invasion in February 2010. All four men involved had been convicted of crimes ranging from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich. Tags

The Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday overturned the murder conviction of Kennedy family cousin Michael Skakel and ordered a new trial in the 1975 killing of a childhood friend, saying his trial lawyer had not given him an adequate defense.

Kristopher McLellan, Dylon Barnett and Mullen took part in the robbery. McLellan, who shot Swan, was convicted of first-degree murder. He also appealed that decision. That appeal was denied.

At trial, Mullen was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 15 years.

Barnett was also convicted of second-degree murder in a separate trial and sentenced to life, with parole eligibility at 12 years.

The mastermind of the whole plot, Sam Tsega, was convicted of manslaughter for planning the robbery that led to Swan’s death and sentenced to nine years in prison. He remains out on bail pending an appeal of his conviction.

For Swan’s family, it’s the latest in an eight-year saga for justice.

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated Michael Skakel's conviction in a decades-old murder case and ordered a new trial .

Tag . The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich.

“It never ends. It’s like there’s been no conclusion, there’s been no closure,” said Alex Swan, Michael’s brother.

The Swans have been prepared for the appeals process, knowing full well that the convictions would almost certainly lead to appeals by each accused.

Alex Swan described Mullen as a “tag-along” who adhered to a plan he didn’t hatch.

“I think he was the guy that didn’t want to be there.”

The major issue for Swan’s family, though, is that Tsega, convicted of manslaughter, who set the whole thing in motion, remains out on bail pending his own appeal. The longer and longer that process takes, Swan’s family fears that Tsega will be legally absolved of what he’s done and never serve real time

“Without Sam Tsega, none of this would have happened,” Alex Swan said.

“We don’t consider this done until he goes to jail, and, until that happens, we’re not going to think justice is served.”

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- In a stunning reversal, the Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich.

— In a stunning reversal, the Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich.

Tsega, who also lived in Barrhaven, set the others on the path to the home invasion during a December 2009 visit to Toronto, where they lived. Tsega told them about Swan, who sold marijuana, and told them that he recently had his inventory of drugs and nearly $20,000 stolen in another robbery, the appeal court’s decision said. The Swan family disputes so much money was ever in Swan’s possession. Tsega also told the group Swan didn’t have a gun. They agreed he was an easy target.

Mullen wasn’t involved in the initial planning, but was recruited by McLellan once the plot gained steam. Barnett had a gun already and Mullen also secured a 9mm handgun.

The so-called “Toronto Three” drove from Toronto to Ottawa on the night of the murder, armed with Swan’s address, which, like much of everything else they knew about him, was supplied by Tsega.

McLellan, who testified at his trial, told the court that Mullen had second thoughts right before entering the house and wanted to abandon the plan. His co-conspirators urged him forward, Mullen relented on the condition that he would not carry the gun. He handed what would become the murder weapon to McLellan, who later fired it into the back of Swan’s shoulder after storming into his bedroom, where Swan was watching an Olympic hockey television broadcast with his girlfriend and a friend.

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich. The court issued a 4-3 ruling Friday, May 4, 2018, that Skakel's trial attorney, Michael Sherman

HARTFORD, Conn. (WCBS 880/AP) -- The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder conviction and ordered a new trial in connection with a 1975 killing in wealthy Greenwich. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Tags

The bullet, which moved diagonally across his torso, pierced through Michael Swan’s vital organs.

The trio led Swan’s friends and roommates to a basement sauna after they had ransacked the home for weed, cash and video games. By the time the group felt safe enough to leave the sauna to check on him, Swan was dead.

The killers had taken the cellphone of Swan’s girlfriend and police tracked its signal to Highway 401, where the group was arrested.

Mullen’s defence told his trial about his minimal involvement in the planning of the robbery and how he hadn’t intended for the murder to happen.

The appeal was granted by the higher court on the grounds that Mullen’s trial judge erred in repeatedly telling the jury that, in order to find Mullen guilty of murder, they only needed to be satisfied that he either knew or was “wilfully blind” that McLellan would probably kill someone in the course of the robbery.

“The trial judge left out the requirement that the jury had to find that Mullen knew that McLellan would probably commit murder — that is, kill Swan with the necessary intent,” according to the appeal court’s decision.

Mullen’s appeal argued it was left open for the jury to convict Mullen of murder based on him knowing the likelihood that someone could die, which would ground a conviction for manslaughter only and not murder.

The trial judge made the same error 12 times in his instruction to the jury. The appeal court found a new trial was necessary to remedy the errors.

No dates have been set for Mullen’s re-trial.

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