CALGARY — A judge says a man who killed a Calgary Stampeders football player must serve 18 years of a life sentence before he can seek parole.
Nelson Lugela was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder in the death of Mylan Hicks.
Hicks, a 23-year-old player on the practice roster of the Canadian Football League Stampeders, was shot outside Calgary’s Marquee Beer Market in 2016.
Lugela, who is 21, received an automatic life sentence and it was left to the court to determine his parole ineligibility period.
The Crown had asked for between 17 and 19 years, while the defence said 14 years was more appropriate.
The trial heard that several Stampeders, including Hicks, had been celebrating a 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 when they returned to the scene.
Several witnesses identified Lugela as the man holding the gun.
Hicks’s mother, Renee Hill, who travelled to Calgary from Detroit, told Lugela’s sentencing hearing last week that she’s angry her son survived the crime-filled streets of his hometown only to be gunned down in Canada.
At times wiping away tears, she told court that her son, “with an almost jungle-like mentality, safely walked through the fire of Detroit,” yet didn’t last one year living in Calgary.