A Saskatoon judge found Terror Squad member Shaylin Sutherland-Kayseas intended to kill Dylan Phillips, but that the killing was not done in association with, or to benefit, the Terror Squad.

Justice Shawn Smith found Sutherland-Kayseas, 20, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Phillips.

She was on trial for first-degree murder but in order for that conviction, the Crown had to prove the killing was done to benefit, directed by, or in association with, the Terror Squad.

The Crown had argued Sutherland-Kayseas and two others went on a “mission” for the Terror Squad to “tax” Phillips – rob him of drugs and money – because he was selling marijuana in Terror Squad territory. Sutherland-Kayseas moved up in the gang because of the shooting, the Crown said.

Smith said while the Crown assembled numerous pieces of evidence to show a connection between the gang’s purpose and the shooting, and that the Crown “has done a good job of stitching those pieced to underpin the argument,” he’s still left with a reasonable doubt.

“Accordingly, I convict Shaylin Katrina Sutherland-Kayseas of second-degree murder of Dylan Phillips,” reads Smith’s 20-page written judgement.

Sutherland-Kayseas went to a home on the 1400 block of Avenue G North in Oct. 2016 with two other Terror Squad members to rob Phillips of drugs and cash. Sutherland-Kayseas brought a loaded sawed-off bolt-action rifle and shot Phillips.

Defence lawyer Jessie Buydens argued for a manslaughter conviction and said during trial Sutherland attempted to rob Phillips on her own with no connection to the gang. Sutherland-Kayseas testified she was high on meth at the time and accidentally pulled the trigger when Phillips went to grab her gun. Smith said he rejects that part of her testimony.

“Whether or not it was first or second-degree, the important thing for the Crown was that she be found guilty of murder and I’m glad that her evidence was rejected on that point,” Crown prosecutor Melodi Kujawa said.

'Curious turn of events'

Philips’ parents witnessed the incident but couldn’t identify the assailants to police; Sutherland-Kayseas and the two people she was with were not originally suspects.

“That changed as a result of a curious turn of events,” Smith wrote.

Days after the killing Kathleen Belanger heard Sutherland-Kayseas joke and brag she killed someone and after seeing a television news story she realized it was the killing of Phillips and told two people.

Belanger testified in the trial she was tied up and beat by a group of women including Sutherland-Kayseas for speaking out about the murder.

Sutherland-Kayseas was previously found guilty of kidnapping Belanger and dangerous driving in a police chase that eventually ended with her being arrested. Police found clothing Sutherland-Kayseas and the two others wore the night of the killing in the trunk of a car.

“Considerable DNA evidence was unearthed,” Smith wrote.

The shooting

Phillips was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest. His mother Jan testified she heard something at the back door and was having difficulty opening it when it burst open. Someone wearing a long coat pointed a gun, she testified.

Phillips came to the door and was shot. A scuffle ensued between Sutherland-Kayseas and Phillips, while a boy assaulted Jan and hit Phillips with the gun over the head.

Phillips’ dad, Dale, rushed to the back door and saw someone smashing Phillips on the head with a fence post and eventually struck Dale on the head. While backing back into the home, Dale found the gun used in the shooting, which was left outside of the home before the group fled.

Smith also found Sutherland-Kayseas guilty of assaulting Jan and Dale.

Two others, a teen boy and Trent Southwind, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case.


Second-degree murder carries a life sentence with parole eligibility ranging from 10-25 years. Buydens said the defence will be arguing for the minimum 10 years.

“She’s quite young, she’s had a fairly traumatic upbringing, moving around foster care throughout different provinces, witnessing her father’s death when she was young,” she told reporters outside of court.

Kujawa said the Crown said it won’t be arguing for 25 years of parole ineligibility, but that it will wait for a Gladue report before deciding what length it will be arguing for.

“The key element for the Crown in this case is that she will be managed by the state until she dies,” Kujawa said. “She will have a life sentence. So even if she does get out on parole, the state will be managing her all the time.”

Sentencing arguments are set for Nov. 13 at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench.