Man found guilty of killing Calgary Stampeder appeals conviction and sentence

CALGARY — A man convicted of killing a Calgary Stampeders football player is appealing both his conviction and his sentence.

Nelson Lugela was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder in the death of Mylan Hicks. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years.

Hicks, a 23-year-old player on the practice roster of the Canadian Football League team, was shot twice outside Calgary’s Marquee Beer Market in 2016.

Lugela, 21, has applied for legal aid and filed the appeal on his own behalf.

“I feel that the trial judge neglected his powers and wrongfully convicted me beyond reasonable doubt,” Lugela writes in his appeal notice.

He argues that evidence did not support a guilty verdict and he takes issue with his psychiatric reports.

“The doctors kept asking me why I committed this gross crime and I didn’t want to confess or make up a reason as to why it happened,” he said. “I was said to have both problems with authority figures and to be a high risk to reoffend or be a menace to society.”

Queen’s Bench Justice Keith Yamauchi said during sentencing last week that the punishment must be a deterrent.

“It is necessary not only to protect the public from you and prevent you from harming anyone else, but also to deter you and all others from committing such horrible, violent crimes in our community,” the judge said.

The trial heard that several Stampeders, including Hicks, had been celebrating a game victory when a disagreement over a spilled drink in the bar intensified in a parking lot after closing time.

Witnesses testified that after some pushing and shoving, a person who appeared to be holding a handgun opened fire at Hicks as he was running for cover.

Hicks was hit twice, in the abdomen and chest, and died in hospital.

Court heard Lugela and two other young men jumped into an SUV and sped away. Three people were arrested about 45 minutes later.

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