Killer of Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks appeals conviction and sentence

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

Nelson Lugela was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder in the death of Mylan Hicks and was given 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, who has applied for legal aid, 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 when they returned to the scene.

Several witnesses identified Lugela as the man holding the gun.

Hicks’ mother doubtful of appeal

Mylan Hicks’ mother Renee Hill says she isn’t surprised by Lugela’s appeal.

“That is very selfish and he doesn’t want to accept responsibility for anything he does,” Hill told Global News from Detroit, Mich. “The reason I am not surprised is because everything the judge called him out on, he doesn’t want to accept responsibility for anything.”

Hill was angered by Lugela’s opposition to the term “brutal” being used when describing the killing.

“How could you talk about ‘brutal’ when you send gunfire rapidly through my son’s chest and abdomen?” Hill said Thursday. “I think that’s the definition of brutal.”

Hill doubts Lugela’s chances of getting an appeal.

“He can forget it. I don’t believe any appeal judge will hear that mess and say, ‘You know what Lugela, you’ve been wronged.’”

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