Second trial for Calgary man charged in bartender shooting returns same verdict
Kyle Ledesma was retried for the shooting death of bartender Dexter Bain in 2010
Read the latest update: Bail revoked for man found guilty of killing Calgary bartender
A jury has found Calgarian Kyle Ledesma guilty of second-degree murder for the death of bartender Dexter Bain in 2010.
Ledesma was being retried by judge and jury after the Alberta Court of Appeal identified issues with the evidence of his confession to undercover Calgary police officers.
He was originally found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years in 2015. He spent six years behind bars.
Bain, 36, was shot in the back as he was closing up his friend's pub, Our Place Pub and Grill in northeast Calgary, on Nov. 27, 2010. He left behind a girlfriend, and a daughter.
Police have called the shooting a botched robbery.
Kim Godin, Bain's mother, thanked the Crown for their work.
"It's been tough, it's been very difficult," she said.
"He is in heaven and one day I will be with him again. He was my only child and that was taken from me."
She said she prays for Ledesma and his family every day.
"I wish his mother all the best because I know what it's like to lose a child, and in a sense that is what she is going through again," she said.
Godin said she spoke to Bain's 24-year-old daughter on the phone to inform her of the verdict, and his daughter wept at the news. She was 16 when her father was killed.
The jury of four men and eight women retired on Friday, after a four-week trial that heard from several witnesses and reviewed evidence gathered during undercover operations.
The Crown said they will be seeking more than the 10 years until parole eligibility the jury recommended, as he as already served six years. A second-degree murder verdict comes with an automatic life sentence, with parole ineligibility of 10 to 25 years.
Jurors heard that Ledesma confessed to undercover police and his DNA was found on a gun believed to be the murder weapon.
During opening statements, Crown prosecutor Hyatt Mograbbee told the jury, "You're going to hear his own words … he shot Dexter."
But Ledesma's lawyer Rebecca Snukal told jurors Ledesma lied to impress undercover operatives posing as criminals.
Target of Mr. Big sting
Six months after the killing, Ledesma was the target of a Mr. Big operation — an undercover sting where police officers pose as criminals and befriend a suspect.
When the suspect becomes worried he will face legal consequences for his alleged crimes, he's encouraged to confess to the boss of a fictitious criminal organization, so "Mr. Big" can help him get out of trouble.
The burden is on the Crown to prove Mr. Big stings were conducted properly, and in 2017 Ledesma's defence lawyer successfully argued the justice did not properly consider whether the evidence should be admitted.
Ledesma confessed twice to the killing to the undercover officers, but testified in his own defense during the retrial that the confessions were a lie.
He said he falsely confessed out of fear and to keep his "gangster credibility."
Following the verdict, Ledesma was released for 24 hours, and the court will reconvene for sentencing on Monday afternoon.
With files from Lucie Edwardson