Convicted Kelowna killer loses appeal
The Kelowna man convicted of fatally shooting a teen at a 2007 grad party failed in another attempt to have his conviction overturned.
In an appeal document released Thursday, Trevor Shannon argued the trial judge erred in their instruction to the jury and that's what led to his second degree murder conviction. The court of appeal didn't find merit in the application and its reasons were outlined in the online document.
Shannon, who was 23-years-old April 8, 2007, had gone to the high school party with some friends, where they were meeting one of the group's girlfriends.
Their arrival wasn't well received and in short order a confrontation between one of Shannon's friends and a belligerent partygoer was sparked. That partygoer got out a knife and behaved in a menacing way and Shannon pulled out his gun, ending the escalating confrontation.
As party attendees filtered outside the house following the incident, Evan Wilkes started to taunt Shannon about bringing a gun to the house and things quickly spiralled out of control.
"And I was tryin’ ta ignore this kid right? He keeps goin’. He keeps on. And I seen him and I think they’re passin’ bear spray and shit and I am like what the F$%$, like are they actually gonna try to start some shit?" reads a transcript of Shannon's statement to police.
"Like ya know, are…, like are they stupid? Like what are they doing? And then, and the kid, he kept on, kept on and I was like, 'Buddy honestly just don’t say one more word man. Don’t even talk to me right now. One more word, I dare you buddy, just say one more word.'”
Wilkes kept taunting and Shannon said that he went up to him and hit him with the gun and it went off.
" So it musta like, it musta got him in the back of the head or sumpin’, like I don’t know what happened but all I know and I di… I was fu… like what the f&* and he hit the ground, I thought I knocked him unconscious," said Shannon.
Wilkes died a few days after the shot to the head from pneumonia, a complication of the injury.
Shannon was initially convicted of second degree murder in September 2008. He successfully appealed that conviction and was granted a new trial.
He was convicted again in June 2012 and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.
The basis for the latest appeal was that the judge erred by failing to instruct the jury to consider self defence, by failing to tell the jury to consider intoxication and by incorrectly instructing the jury about what was the unlawful act that could lead to a finding of culpable homicide as a component of a murder conviction.
Justice John Hall wrote there was not enough evidence to require an instruction to the jury on self-defence, especially given the fact that Shannon’s lawyer didn't express any wish to have that defence put to the jury.
"There was no air of reality requiring the judge to instruct on an intoxication defence," Hall wrote. "Regarding the instruction about the unlawful act of firing the gun, the judge clearly put to the jury the possibility of accident which would result in a verdict of manslaughter."
The jury would not have been left in any confusion about the verdicts open to them.
"There was, however, from the direction of the bullet path through the skull and the reaction of the appellant at the scene, a measure of evidentiary support for the lesser included verdict of manslaughter. The path to this verdict was accident," Hall wrote.
"Given the strength of the evidence suggestive of an intentional shot to the head of the victim, it is not surprising that the jury returned a murder verdict."