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Family of Sask. man will have to wait to hear verdict of the man charged in his death


The family of a La Ronge man will have to wait to find out what happens to the man charged in his death, as the judge reserved the verdict until April 17.

Twenty-three-year-old Keegan Nelson-Smith is accused of second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Muhammad Venne. Nelson-Smith stood trial at the Prince Albert Court of King’s Bench on Monday.

After witness testimonies, the Crown submitted that the incident took place at a family wake. Two fights occurred that evening, the second was a one-on-one between Venne and Nelson-Smith.

The Crown said it holds the position of second-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt, but asked at the minimum a charge of manslaughter is met.

Nelson-Smith’s defence lawyer Michael Nolin argued many of the Crown’s witnesses were intoxicated with drugs and alcohol the night of the incident, and there are several inconsistencies in their testimonies.

Nolin said witnesses might have recalled information incorrectly, because they were in a highly stressful situation and some were already grieving the death of a family member.

Nolin argues people weren’t paying attention until after the altercation, when they heard Venne’s friend scream, and the perpetrator had run away. He said witnesses remember the perpetrator wearing all black, but video surveillance shows Nelson-Smith wore white shorts and a white hat.

Nolin asked the judge to consider the not guilty plea, or the lesser charge of manslaughter. He argued Venne had the assailant in bear hug during the fight, which is unlawful confinement.

Justice Richard Danyliuk said due to the complex nature of the case, he will need time to think it over. Top Stories

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