Russell Matthew Beaver

Russell Matthew Beaver was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years in the shooting death of his former friend, Shawn Mead. (CBC)

A Halifax man has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a former friend more than two years ago.

Russell Matthew Beaver received an automatic life sentence for fatally shooting 32-year-old Shawn Mead, who died at his Bilby Street apartment in north-end Halifax in June 2011.

The 25-year-old man was charged in September 2011. According to an agreed statement of facts filed earlier in court, Beaver went to Mead's apartment on June 5, 2011 — armed with a shotgun — to confront him about persistent unwanted communication.

Mead's decomposing body was discovered by a friend three weeks later.

Court heard the two men met when Beaver was 13 years old and that the younger man endured years of exploitation, manipulation and abuse by Mead. Mead threatened to kill himself and to expose sexual videos of Beaver, the court was told.

Beaver told the police he tried to end the relationship but Mead was relentless, texting and phoning him.

"There are no happy endings here," Luke Craggs, the defence lawyer, told the court.


Shawn Andrew Mead was found dead inside a home on Bilby Street three weeks after his death in 2011. (CBC)

Beaver was facing a 30-day jury trial on a charge of first-degree murder, but opted in September to be tried by judge alone. He then entered a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Beaver had been on house arrest at his parent's house until his sentencing Thursday.

Darlene Ann Landry, one of Mead's sisters, said in her victim impact statement that her brother was "no angel but he had a good heart."

"No one deserved to die like that," she said.

Donna Brown, another of Mead's sisters, said her life will never be the same with the loss of her brother.

"There were times when his kindness and loving heart shone through. As much as I go over this, I will never understand this tragedy," she said.