HALIFAX, N.S. – Convicted murderer William Michael Sandeson, of Lower Truro, has successfully sued his former roommate for absconding with part of his vast sneaker collection and some homemade plonk.
Sandeson, convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Taylor Samson last June, is serving a life sentence for the August 2015 killing that police characterized as a drug rip.
“That conviction is under appeal by the claimant. All of this is well known to many observers in Halifax,” small claims court adjudicator Eric Slone said in a written decision released Tuesday.
“Less well known is the fact that (Sandeson) was an avid collector of shoes, specifically of sneakers, and that he made his own wine in his spare time.”
Sandeson’s murder trial heard Samson went to his Halifax apartment to sell nine kilograms of marijuana for $40,000 as part of a prearranged deal. The judge in the case said Sandeson shot Samson, a 22-year-old Dalhousie University science student, while he was sitting at a kitchen table.
Around the time of Samson’s murder, Sandeson, who had been accepted into Dal’s medical school, shared a Henry Street apartment with Dylan Zinck-Selig.
“The apartment contained approximately twenty-eight pairs of sneakers made by most of the better-known brands, many of them new and most of them stored in shoeboxes in his closet,” Slone said, noting the shoes could be seen in a short video police shot when they first entered the apartment to investigate Samson’s murder.
Sandeson, a former varsity track athlete at Dal, was locked up at the time. Zinck-Selig had to move out and “was given limited access to get his essential items,” said the adjudicator.
“When the apartment was released by the authorities some days or weeks later, and (Sandeson’s) family went to collect his belongings, eighteen of the twenty-eight pairs of shoes were missing.”
There were other items missing, Sandeson testified by video link during the small claims court hearing.
“Approximately 40 bottles of homemade wine and between five and 10 bottles of hard liquor were unaccounted for, he said. (Sandeson’s) theory is that his ex-roommate, (Zinck-Selig), took these things.”
Sandeson valued the shoes and booze at $2,500.
Zinck-Selig admits to taking two pairs of sneakers and four bottles of wine, Slone said.
Evidence at the small claims court hearing indicated that, in addition to police, the landlord had access to the apartment during at least part of the time in question.
Slone said he had “no problem” with Sandeson’s credibility.
“There is nothing inconsistent with his evidence, and his theory holds water to the extent that (Zinck-Selig) is logically someone who was in a position to help himself to the missing items. By his own admission, (Zinck-Selig) felt aggrieved by the circumstances which were not of his making, and which caused him great inconvenience and some undoubted financial loss.”
The problem is Zinck-Selig wasn’t the only person with access to the apartment, said the adjudicator. “At the end of the day, I am satisfied that (Zinck-Selig) took some, but not all of the items that (Sandeson) claims he took.”
Zinck-Selig didn’t have the right to take anything that wasn’t his, Slone said.
Slone awarded Sandeson $500 in damages. “He is entitled to his costs of $99.70 plus $99.75 for process serving, for a grand total of $699.45.”