New Brunswick

Marissa Shephard's murder retrial set for mid-August 2021

Marissa Shephard's retrial for murder is scheduled to take place in August of 2021. The 24-year-old faces a first degree murder charge in the killing of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie after her original conviction was overturned by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in October of last year.

Shephard is facing charges of first degree murder and arson in the death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie

Marissa Shephard, 24, of Moncton, is facing first degree murder charges for the death of Baylee Wylie. (Andrew Robson)

Marissa Shephard's second first degree murder trial is scheduled to take place in August of 2021.

 The 24-year-old was found guilty in the killing of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie, but the conviction was overturned by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in October of last year.

Gilles Lemieux will be Shephard's defence lawyer a second time. He was in a Moncton courtroom on Wednesday for a pre-trial conference. Lemieux asked for and received a publication ban on the discussions that took place in front of Justice Jean–Paul Ouellette.

Gilles Lemieux is representing Marissa Shephard at her first degree murder and arson trial. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Crown prosecutor Annie St-Jacques estimated the new trial would take about two months and voir dires,  legal procedures in which the admissibility of evidence is discussed, could last anywhere from nine to 12 weeks. Justice Ouellette said, after looking at the docket, and given the expected length of the proceedings, the trial will be set for mid August, 2021.

Lemiuex said, the long wait didn't come as a surprise to him or to Shephard.

"Well the system is pretty clogged, so it's nothing I was not expecting and to be quite candid we had a conversation and I told her she could probably expect that so she didn't fall over."

The body of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie was found in a burned out townhouse in Moncton in December of 2015. Two men have also been convicted for their roles in Wylie's murder. (Submitted)

Shephard attended the pre-trial conference in Moncton on Wednesday. She appeared in the prisoners box wearing a beige coat, and did not speak during the proceedings.

Conviction overturned

Wylie's body was found burned and beaten in a New Brunswick Housing tri-plex in Moncton in December 2015.

During Shephard's trial, the court heard of a drug-fuelled night of partying that resulted in Wylie being bound to a chair, beaten and stabbed with multiple objects. He suffered more than 140 "sharp-force injuries," a pathologist testified.

Prosecutors Annie St-Jacques and Eric Lalonde are representing the crown in Marissa Shephard's first degree murder trial. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

The trial lasted more than two months, but the jury took only four hours to return with a guilty verdict in May of 2018. A first degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years.

But Shephard appealed, and won. 

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal delivered a 41–page decision that overturned Shephard's conviction, stating Justice Zoël Dionne "committed various errors of law" in his charge to the jury

The decision outlined a number of times where Dionne failed to intervene on key points during the trial.

Serving time

Two men are already in prison for their role in Wylie's murder.

22-year-old Tyler Noel pleaded guilty to second degree murder in May of 2017. He's serving a sentence of life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 16 years.

Devin Morningstar pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, but was found guilty by a jury in November of 2016. He's serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

About the Author

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.