"Where's Taylor, Will?"
Taylor Samson's mother Linda Boutilier posed that question to her son's killer, William Sandeson, as he was escorted out of Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Tuesday.
Sandeson was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years for the murder of Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student. Samson's body has never been found.
Justice Josh Arnold reminded the court Sandeson may never get out of prison — that's a decision for the Parole Board of Canada.
Plans to appeal conviction
The 24-year-old was convicted of first-degree murder after an eight-week jury trial which ended last month. The conviction carries an automatic sentence of life in prison.
Sandeson, a former Dalhousie medical school student, is being credited for the two years he has already spent in custody. He has already served notice he plans to appeal the conviction.
Samson, 22, was last seen alive on the evening of Aug. 15, 2015, heading into Sandeson's apartment in south-end Halifax.
Victim impact statements
This sentencing hearing was an opportunity for Samson's family and friends to put on the record how much his loss means to them. Neither Samson's mother nor his girlfriend read statements aloud on Tuesday.
However, Samson's younger brother Connor, who has autism, read his victim impact statement aloud to the court.
"I'm afraid to lose someone who's really close to me," he said, adding he's even afraid when his mother goes to the store.
Kaitlynne Lowe, one of Samson's close friends, told reporters that her life changed irrevocably the night he died.
"Literally every one of my closest friends' lives was shattered that night. My life hasn't been the same," Lowe said.
"Taylor is one of the biggest influences in my life and I'm going to spent the rest of my life trying to make sure that everyone knows how fantastic of a person he was."
'As cold as they come'
Ryan Wilson, another friend of Samson's, told the court — and Sandeson — that Samson laughed so loud "your ears would ring, hugged so hard your ribs would hurt."
"I would not be the man I am today if not for him," Wilson said.
He told reporters after the sentencing that he made eye contact with Sandeson as much as possible while he read his statement.
"I've never seen so much as a smirk or a smile. He's as cold as they come," Wilson said. "He deserves to know what he did. Not just, obviously, to Taylor, but to people around him. He took away a lot. It wasn't just one life."
Both Wilson and Lowe said they will continue to attend all future court dates as Sandeson's appeal moves forward.
"I expect to be here when I'm 50 years old if he gets a parole hearing," Lowe said.
Sandeson did not address the court on Tuesday.
The CBC's Blair Rhodes covered the sentencing live from Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.