Michael Schweitzer found guilty of second-degree murder, assault with a weapon
Published Sunday, January 24, 2016 1:00PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 24, 2016 7:01PM EST
Michael Schweitzer has been found guilty of second-degree murder and assault with a weapon in connection with a double shooting in Milverton more than three years ago.
On Sunday, day four of deliberations, twelve jurors ruled that they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Schweitzer shot Nicole Wagler, who died, and Tyler Baker, who survived but was seriously injured.
It was a tense moment in the courtroom as the verdict was announced. Loud exhales and sighs of relief were heard from Nicole Wagler’s friends and family, as the jury confirmed that Schweitzer was guilty of second-degree murder.
Wagler’s brother, Mason says the family can now have some much needed closure. “The last three weeks have been incredibly stressful and agonizing for the Baker and Wagler-Harvey family. All of us are unbelievably stressed.”
Second-degree murder carries a life imprisonment sentence. Justice Thomas Heeney says he has the discretion to recommend ineligibility for parole that could fall between 10-25 years.
Schweitzer's defence lawyer Phillip Millar says, “Our client has spent over 1000 days in jail without one record of misconduct he has no criminal record loved by many many family and friends. “
Deliberations began Thursday, but on Saturday afternoon the jury informed the judge that they had reached no consensus and were deadlocked. Heeney encouraged jurors to review and reflect on the evidence and to try for an consensus once more.
Millar told CTV news that a deadlock gave his client some hope and the verdict left him devastated. “He maintains his innocence he instructed is he has confidence in us and he wants us to pursue an appeal.”
The shooting occurred on Dec. 4, 2012, at a home shared by Baker and Schweitzer on Edward Street in Milverton.
Court heard that the two were both involved in sexual activity with the 17-year-old Wagler.
The Crown had argued that Schweitzer was jealous Baker and Wagler seemed to be growing closer in their relationship, while defence lawyers claimed that it was Baker who was jealous of Schweitzer, and Baker who fired Schweitzer’s gun.
The trial heard testimony from 14 witnesses over a period of more than two weeks.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 29th at Perth County Court house. Defence says they have plans to appeal the decision.
While the Wagler family says they are happy with today's outcome, they hope Schweitzer will be forced to serve out his full sentence.
“I hope he gets the life sentence my sister was handed.”