'I don't think he's going to make it': Witness testifies accused killer knew he'd shot Stampeder

Darwin Concepcion testified against Nelson Lugela on Thursday in Lugela's second-degree murder trial.

Darwin Concepcion said he was with accused killer Nelson Lugela the night Mylan Hicks was shot

Darwin Concepcion, who was with Nelson Lugela, left, the night Calgary Stampeders player Mylan Hicks, right, was shot to death in 2016, testified against Lugela at his second-degree murder trial on Thursday. (Crime Stoppers/Calgary Stampeders)

As soon as he finished firing three shots, Nelson Lugela knew he'd killed Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks, the accused's friend told a Calgary judge Thursday.

"I hit two shots," Darwin Concepcion said Lugela told him. "I don't think he's going to make it."

Lugela, 21, is on trial for second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Mylan Hicks, 23, who was shot to death outside the Marquee Nightclub after celebrating a Saturday night win with his teammates.

Concepcion testified against Lugela on Thursday.

He told prosecutor Gord Haight he had been partying on the night of Sept. 24, 2016 with Lugela and Dhia-Al-Hage Mohammed, also known as D-Mo.

The three friends had arrived at the nightclub after drinking vodka in the parking lot. Inside, "there was a little problem," according to Concepcion, when one of the three was bumped by a Stampeders player.

Concepcion said the two groups began swearing at each other and one of the players took Concepcion's hat off.

Then-Stampeder Jerome Messam testified earlier in the trial that he had taken the hat and said he felt guilty having provoked the situation.

But the two groups had a drink together and things seemed to calm down.

After the bar closed and people had poured outside, Concepcion said he was talking to a woman when he heard the bang that left his ears ringing.

"At first I thought somebody came and shot at us," said Concepcion.

"I see everybody running, turn around, we all jump back in the vehicle, Nelson looks at me, says 'we got to go.'"

But once the three drunk friends eventually pulled over and parked, Concepcion said he noticed the gun in Lugela's hand. That's when the Concepcion said the accused told him he'd likely killed someone.

Nelson Lugela murder trial video

CBC News Calgary

2 years ago
Dash cam video from a taxi shows the moment three shots were fired outside the Marquee Beer hall in the early hours of Sept. 25, 2016. Stampeder Mylan Hicks was struck by two of the bullets and killed. 0:14

"So now I can see what kind of situation we're all dealing with," said the witness.

The trio walked down a back alley and Lugela ditched the gun in a recycling bin, according to Concepcion.

Shortly after, they were arrested by police after one of Hicks' teammates — who was in the back of a police van on the way to the detachment to give a statement — yelled at the officers that he'd spotted the trio he believed was responsible for the shooting.

Offensive lineman Derek Dennis began yelling, "That's the shooter," he testified earlier. 

'[Hicks] had nothing to do with the situation.'

During his interactions with police, Concepcion said he initially wanted nothing to do with the shooting so he lied to officers about where he'd been that night and the car he'd been driving.

But after a detective told him about Hicks and that the defensive back had been killed, Concepcion explained what happened.

Haight asked why Concepcion had decided to tell the truth.

"I don't know why somebody had to die," he said. 

"I don't think somebody like that deserves to lose their life over nothing ... [Hicks] had nothing to do with the situation."

Several of Hicks' teammates have already testified that after the first gunshot, Hicks was running away before he was hit by the next two.

Hicks' mother, Renee Hill, shook her head throughout Concepcion's evidence and stormed out of the courtroom at the end of the day.

The trial will continue on Friday with more questions for Concepcion from both Haight and defence lawyer Alain Hepner.