Connect with us


‘Tragic and Senseless’: Final Accomplice in Killing of Barrhaven’s Michael Swan Convicted



The last accomplice on trial for the 2010 execution-style killing of Barrhaven teenager Michael Swan was found guilty Thursday as the so-called mastermind behind the botched marijuana and money robbery.

Sam Tsega, 24, had been on trial for second-degree murder, but Ontario Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken spared him a murder conviction and instead found him guilty of manslaughter.

Tsega was the Ottawa connection for his hardened gang-banger friends, known as the Toronto 3. He told them they could find money and marijuana at Swan’s home and helped them case the house before the killing.

Without Tsega, the police and later prosecutors theorized, the Feb. 22, 2010 murder would never have happened.

The judge said the Crown failed to prove an essential element of second-degree murder, namely that Tsega, who was not at the scene of the crime, knew the robbery plot would end in murder.

“It was a tragic and senseless killing that has forever changed the fabric of the Barrhaven community,” the judge told court.

The judge said she wished society had the ability to turn back time on “the recklessness of youth” that has left the victim’s family “forever scarred.”

The manslaughter conviction follows six years of legal proceedings for Swan’s family and friends. His parents — admired by both the Crown and defence — have withstood a painfully long trip through the criminal justice system. They have sat quietly in court, across four convictions, listening to horrifying details about their 19-year-old son’s last moments in life. At best, they say, they felt like spectators, victimized by it all.

It was just after midnight when three masked men, dressed in black with handguns drawn, stormed Michael Swan‘s home and forced him and his friends to their knees at gunpoint.

The teenage marijuana seller had been watching hockey with his friends when the men from Toronto came to rob him. The three asked him where he kept his dope and his money, but Swan wouldn’t give it up. He even refused after they pressed a gun into his back.

“I don’t know,” Swan told them.

Those were his last words.

They shot him. The bullet pierced his heart. He was dead in less than a minute.

The next in line for questioning was his girlfriend.

On her knees, at gunpoint, and having just seen her boyfriend executed, she told them everything they wanted to know.

The men forced the survivors into a basement sauna and told them to stay put as the three fled with their stolen loot, including video games.

Swan‘s girlfriend could be heard screaming for help as police arrived. They tried in vain to revive Swan but there was nothing they could do to save him.

The men left for Toronto with almost two kilograms of weed and $3,000, and they would have got away if not for a cellphone that police were able to track. Police arrested them hours later on the 401.

Sam Tsega, though convicted in the killing Thursday, walked out the front door of the Elgin Street courthouse. He’s still on bail awaiting sentencing but prosecutors are expected to argue that he belongs in jail until then.

Michael Swan’s family is devastated. His parents don’t celebrate Christmas anymore even though it used to be his mother’s favourite time of the year. She used to spend weeks decorating but these days they don’t even put up a tree. They skip birthdays, too. They say it’s been too hard to celebrate anything since their son’s death.

Tsega is the final accomplice to be convicted. Kristopher McLellan, the shooter, was convicted of first-degree murder, and the other two masked accomplices, Kyle Mullen and Dylon Barnett, were convicted of second-degree murder.

At the sentencing hearing last year for Dylon Barnett, Michael Swan’s father, Dale, stood up in court to finally put a human face on his family’s tragedy.

Swan, a private man, told court: “I take exception that I have to do this in open court and before one of the very individuals responsible for my son’s death. This, in itself, I consider a form of victimization, but I realize this will be my only opportunity to try to put a human face on what has been, up to now a very cold, clinical, detached legal process.”

It was a moving victim-impact statement.

He told court: “As a father, I consider myself a failure. Ultimately, it was my job to protect my child, to identify the dangers and do whatever was required to deal with them. I thought I was doing this, but it proved not to be enough. I must live with this guilt for the rest of my life.”

At the same sentencing hearing last year, the victim’s tearful mother, Rea, told court her life will never be the same.

“Just enjoying a beautiful sunny day, a good meal or even a laugh at a good joke brings with it a feeling of guilt,” she said. “How can I enjoy these things? My son is dead … I have been robbed of my son and the joys of life. … There remains a large hole in my heart that will never go away.

They described their dead son as a natural athlete who could make you laugh. And, they said, he never held a grudge.

Swan sold only marijuana, and loved to smoke it while watching hockey in his bedroom like many suburban teens.

He spent the last night of his life with his girlfriend, watching Olympic hockey.

And so for money and weed, young Michael Swan was executed in his own bedroom.

Tsega, wearing a suit, walked out of court Thursday a free man for another day, awaiting his sentence.

The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life in prison.

Read More..

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Up and Coming Sports Stars to Look Out for in 2020



Every year, a raft of exciting new players come onto the scene across all of the major US sports. With the MLS season getting underway and the NFL and MLB drafts not too far away, now is a great time to look at the young sports stars that could have a very bright future ahead of them, and the ones that are already proving they are destined for greatness.

Theo Bair (MLS)

This MLS season is looking like it could be one of the best yet, with David Beckham’s Inter Miami team adding some extra dazzle to the league. Whilst Beckham might be able to attract a lot of new players to his MLS team, there are a lot of young stars on their way through such as Theo Bair at Vancouver Whitecaps. Bair has already made an impact on the first team and after impressing at under-20 and under-23 level for the national team, he has made two appearances for the senior team, well before his 21st birthday. This year could see Bair make a real name for himself in the MLS.

Source: Pixabay

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (MLB)

Montreal-born Vladimir Guerrero Jr has one MLB season under his belt but it looks like the best is still yet to come from him at the Blue Jays. He was heavily backed to take the league by storm but he failed to live up to the hype that surrounded him. Without the pressure of being the top-ranked prospect, this season could see Guerrero play with some weight lifted off his shoulders. He has been working very hard on his fitness over the offseason, something that his manager Montoyo has been quick to comment upon.

Baseball by andrewmalone, on Flickr

Baseball” (CC BY 2.0) by andrewmalone

Connor McDavid (NHL)

McDavid has already established him as a top hockey player but at 23, he has the potential to go on to do so much more. The player was born in Ontario and was the first overall draft pick, showing how much expectation was already on him at that stage but he has gone on to prove that he is one of the best players in the NHL. McDavid could go on to be one the NHL’s best-ever hockey players and this season could be the year that he shows the world, not just the NHL.

Chuba Hubbard (College Football)

The Oklahoma State Cowboys running back has been making the headlines for several years now. He continues to improve and grab more attention for his impressive stats and performances. He was close to being a sprinter and nearly made the Canadian Olympic team before switching over to football. He is passing up the 2020 NFL draft to play his senior season at Cowboys. He should give them a good chance of winning the College Football Championship, though they’re trailing at the seventh spot in the latest American football odds at +2400.00, with Clemson as the current betting favorites.

2020 will definitely be a very exciting time with some of these young stars looking to breakthrough in their respective sports and show the world what they are capable of.

Continue Reading


Bob Baffert is back at the Kentucky Derby – and looking to break the Curse of Apollo



Bob Baffert is back at the Kentucky Derby with early favourite Justify after watching the race from his sofa in Southern California last year.

The Hall of Fame trainer’s ability to produce Derby contenders year after year is an enviable feat and why his absence a year ago stood out. It was just his second since 2009 and occurred because his lone candidate got hurt.

Baffert will saddle Justify and 30-to-1 shot Solomini in Saturday’s Derby.

Justify is one of the greenest colts Baffert has brought to Churchill Downs. He’s won all three of his starts by a combined 19 lengths. If Justify wins, he’d be the first to do so since Apollo in 1882 without racing as a two-year-old.

“The thing about the Kentucky Derby, you have to have the right horse. It just happens. You can’t force it,” Baffert said. “All of a sudden, you have good horses and you’re there. So I’ve been really fortunate to have some really good horses.”

Baffert’s four victories are tied for second-most in Derby history. He’s finished second three times, too, including in 2012 with Bodemeister, also the last time he had two starters in the same year.

Like Justify, Bodemeister didn’t race as a two-year-old. He set a blistering pace and led the Derby until the final 150 yards when I’ll Have Another overtook him to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

Magnum Moon, the 6-to-1 third choice, also is unbeaten and didn’t run as a two-year-old.

“It’s going to happen,” Baffert said, referring to the curse being broken. “Whether it happens this year or whatever, but it will happen because Bodemeister almost got away with it. But I don’t really worry about that.”

Baffert almost had a third starter this year until McKinzie developed a hind-end issue that knocked him off the Derby trail.

“When McKinzie got hurt, I wanted to throw up,” he said. “I really think McKinzie would probably be second choice here. We’d really have a 1-2 here.”

Justify cleared the biggest pre-Derby hurdle by drawing the No. 7 post. Jockey Mike Smith can use the colt’s early speed to position him well for the long run to the chaotic first turn. Solomini ended up in the No. 17 post; no horse has ever won from there.

Baffert turned 65 in January, making him eligible for Medicare and retirement at most other jobs. However, he entertains no such thoughts.

“I work hard at it. I just don’t give up,” the white-haired trainer said. “I’m constantly meeting people. They’re sending me horses. If you don’t have success, you’re not going to get those opportunities.”

After a successful run in the quarter horse ranks, Baffert switched to thoroughbreds. He started with one horse.

“After 25 years, I’m finally getting horses that I don’t have to buy,” he said. “The big guys are sending me horses.”

None was bigger than American Pharoah in 2015. The colt swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

Baffert has compared Justify to American Pharoah, citing the colt’s imposing physical presence and big stride. Still, Justify has yet to encounter the kind of traffic the Derby’s 20-horse stampede creates and the talent as he’ll run against on Saturday.

“I’d rather have a really talented horse than one who’s seasoned and just on par with the rest of them,” Baffert said.

Early on, Baffert knew Justify had the goods.

“The first time I worked him at Santa Anita, I knew he was a really good horse,” he said. “The track was really deep that morning, and he went around there effortlessly. His first race, he ran incredibly and showed how special he was.”

That kind of intuition is what separates Baffert from his rivals, fellow Hall of Famer trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

“Bob’s got a great feel for it,” he said.

Read more…

Continue Reading


Matthews ready to return to Maple Leafs lineup after missing a month



NASHVILLE — The hurtin’ tune that Auston Matthews has been singing for the past four weeks finally can be put in the remainder bin in Music City.

The Maple Leafs’ top centre on Wednesday declared himself set to return to the lineup after recovering from a right shoulder injury.

Wonderful timing, of course, considering the Leafs will take on the No. 1 club in the National Hockey League, the Nashville Predators, on Thursday night.

“In my mind, I think I’m ready to go and taking it as I’m getting ready to play (Thursday),” Matthews said after resuming his normal role, between William Nylander and Zach Hyman, during practice at Bridgestone Arena.

“It felt good, nice to get in all the reps and everything. (Wednesday) was a good step forward in that process, going through the line rushes.”

It seemed probable that the Leafs also will have defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, who missed the past five games as he recovered from an illness, against Nashville. Zaitsev was paired with Jake Gardiner, his regular partner, at practice.

For Matthews, it has been 10 games as a spectator with his latest injury, his third of the 2017-18 regular season after he missed four games in November with a back issue and then sat for six in December because of a concussion.

Thursday will mark four weeks since Matthews was hurt when he was sandwiched by the New York Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck and Adam Pelech in a game at the Air Canada Centre.

A major bonus for Matthews in his recovery has been the fact he has been able to skate though much of his recuperation. That was not the case when he was out with his previous two injuries.

It’s worth noting that Matthews scored two goals versus the Montreal Canadiens upon returning on Nov. 18 from his back injury; in his first two games upon coming back from a concussion, he scored a goal in each.

Mike Babcock said a final decision on the participation of Matthews and Zaitsev against the Predators would be made on Thursday morning, but the Leafs coach was talking as though it would be a rubber stamp.

“This is going to be the best opportunity for (Matthews) because he has been able to skate and compete,” Babcock said. “The other times he was not able to do anything.

“To get him back … it’s still going to be going way faster than he has been practising, so there is going to be an adjustment period, but he’s a good player and he will figure it out.”

Defenceman Morgan Rielly didn’t think Matthews will take long to find his footing. Rielly missed six games in late January/early February with an arm injury, so knows what Matthews could be feeling.

“You’re nervous and you just want to get back into it,” Rielly said. “You play your first shift a bit hesitant, but after that it’s important you get back to yourself.

“It’s never easy, but Auston is one of those guys that I will imagine it won’t take long for him to get back into a rhythm.”

And there’s the trickle-down effect through the forward lines with Matthews in uniform.

“Guys are used to playing with certain players and when everyone is healthy, I think you get better chemistry throughout the entire lineup,” centre Nazem Kadri said. “Certain guys don’t have to play with different guys constantly and it’s just more of a set group, so I think it’s going to help us.”

Continue Reading