Nova Scotia

Blood spatter expert testifies victim's DNA was found on William Sandeson's gun

A blood spatter expert has testified that he found blood on the handgun belonging to William Sandeson, who's standing trial on a first-degree murder charge.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Two men are seen standing in a hallway.
A still from surveillance video shown to the jury in the William Sandeson trial on Jan. 10, 2023. (Nova Scotia Courts)

A blood spatter expert has testified that he found blood on the handgun belonging to William Sandeson, who's standing trial on a first-degree murder charge.

Sandeson is accused of killing Taylor Samson, 22, in Halifax in August 2015. Sandeson was 23 at the time. 

This is the second time Sandeson has faced a trial on this charge in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. A new trial was ordered in 2020 after a verdict from a trial in 2017 was overturned on appeal.

RCMP Sgt. Adrian Butler said he was given photographs of Sandeson's gun after it was seized from his apartment in south-end Halifax.

Butler said a close examination of the photos showed about 44 minute stains on one side of the gun and another four around the muzzle.

A young man with short brown hair wears a suit and tie.
Taylor Samson, 22, was reported missing on Aug. 16, 2015. (Halifax Regional Police)

He said the stains matched the DNA of Samson, the man Sandeson is accused of killing.

Butler told the jury that the stains on the gun were consistent with what he called back spatter: a stain created by blood travelling back from the impact point.

He said the stains suggest the gun was less than four feet (1.2 metres) from the blood source when it was fired.

The photos Butler studied were taken by Det. Const. James Wasson, who served as file co-ordinator during the investigation into Samson's disappearance.

In addition to the gun, Wasson photographed Sandeson, including an apparent bruise on his shoulder.

That photo was taken at police headquarters after Sandeson's arrest in August 2015.

Items seized, tested for blood

Wasson testified Wednesday that he seized articles of Sandeson's clothing, including his shoes to have them tested for possible blood stains.

He also photographed cash that had been seized from Sandeson's apartment. The $20 bills had what appeared to be blood stains on them. Wasson took swabs of the stains and sent them for further testing.

The officer also photographed items seized from the Sandeson family farm in Lower Truro, N.S., including a shower curtain and a large black duffel bag.

Samson was last seen alive entering Sandeson's apartment carrying a similar black duffel bag on the evening of Aug. 15, 2015.

During their search of Sandeson's apartment, police noted there was no curtain in the shower. The shower curtain and the duffel bag were both tested for blood stains.

The gun, the cash, the shower curtain and the duffel bag have all been entered as exhibits in this trial and have been displayed on a table in the courtroom in front of the jury.


Blair Rhodes


Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 40 years, the last 31 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at

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