Two men guilty of first degree murder in death of Shawn Yorke
Emotions were high in a Kitchener courtroom Tuesday as a judge handed down a pair of first-degree murder verdicts to two Kitchener men.
Kenneth Morrison, 30, and Mowafag Saboon, 27, received an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
In the judge-alone trial, Justice James Sloan determined both were responsible for the shooting death of 46-year-old Shawn Yorke.
Court heard Yorke was killed in his townhome on Elm Ridge Drive around 1 a.m. on July 8, 2018 during a botched robbery.
The judge noted Yorke sold drugs out of his home, and Morrison, Saboon and two teens had planned to rob him.
Justice Sloan added they carried out a home invasion robbery with “two guns at the ready.”
Court was told the group found Yorke sitting on the edge of his bed and he had attempted to fight back.
However, Justice Sloan said Morrison pointed a gun at Yorke and unlawfully confined him before the shooting.
According to the judge's findings it was Saboon who fired the fatal shot at close range and hit him in the chest.
“I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Saboon murdered Shawn,” said Justice Sloan.
After the decision Tammy Lee, Yorke’s family member, provided a statement to CTV:
“We, Shawn’s family, are thankful for the verdict and our justice system. Without the hard work from the Crown Attorney, and everyone involved at the WRPS we would not have the verdict we received today! Although this is not a ‘win’ we are grateful that Shawn’s life was considered and justice was served. Shawn was a man with a heart of gold, and today he is proud of all of us for enduring the pain we have all suffered for three and half years.”
Meanwhile, Morrison's lawyer said they are disappointed with the judge's decision.
"Our client has never minimized his role in this offence, but it is our legal position that he is not guilty of murder," said defence attorney Jessyca Greenwood. "It will be for a higher court to review the conviction should Mr. Morrison decide to appeal."
Morrison and Saboon will return to court on Dec. 9 for a sentence hearing where victim impact statements will be heard.
The two teens involved in this case pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2019 for their role in Yorke’s death.
They were sentenced to three years behind bars.