Closing arguments at trial of accused in slaying of Calgary Stampeders player

CALGARY — Final arguments are to be heard today at the trial of a man accused in the fatal shooting of a Calgary Stampeders football player.

Nelson Lugela, 21, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mylan Hicks outside the Marquee Beer Market in Calgary on Sept. 25, 2016.

The final witness was called more than a month ago.

A number of Stampeders players, including Hicks from the team’s practice roster, had been celebrating a victory over Winnipeg in a game hours earlier.

Court has heard that there was an altercation over a spilled drink involving team kicker Rene Paredes and his wife. The argument continued outside after the bar closed.

Witnesses testified that after some pushing and shoving, an individual appeared holding a handgun and opened fire at Hicks, who was running for cover.

“I heard pow. Then I heard pow, pow. I looked to my right immediately and people were running,” former Stampeders running back Jerome Messam told court.

“I’m thinking it’s fireworks. I didn’t think it was gunshots, because I didn’t think anybody in Calgary was going to be shooting no gun. We turned him over and I saw the hole and I just told him to fight man. I just told him to fight.”

Hicks, 23, who played college football at Michigan State, died in hospital of bullet wounds to his chest and abdomen.

Court heard the shooter and two other young men jumped into an SUV and sped away. Police said they arrested three people about 45 minutes later when they returned to the scene.

Hicks’s mother, Renee Hill, came from Detroit to watch the trial. She said she would be there once the judge delivers a verdict.

She said outside court that she had thought her son would be safer in Canada than he was in Detroit.

“If Mylan was going to get hurt, lose his life, I’d be the first to say it was where we live. You know, it was in Detroit … but Mylan came here and I was so glad,” she said.

“To get here and not last a year … that just broke my heart.”

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