Nova Scotia

Murder trial to go ahead in taxi driver's slaying

A 21-year-old man has been ordered to stand trial for first-degree murder in the death of Sergei Kostin, a Dartmouth taxi driver.

A 21-year-old man has been ordered to stand trial for first-degree murder in the death of Sergei Kostin, a Dartmouth taxi driver.

Chaze Lamar Thompson is charged in the death of the 40-year-old man, a longtime cabbie who moved to Canada from Ukraine.

Kostin, 40, picked up his last fare on Gaston Road in Dartmouth on Jan. 17, 2009, and was never seen again. He was reported missing later that day and his burned-out taxi was found three days later in North Preston.

His body was discovered in some brush months later, about one kilometre from where the cab was found.

The preliminary inquiry wrapped up on Thursday in Dartmouth provincial court, with Justice Theodore Tax ruling there was sufficient evidence against Thompson for the case to go to trial in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

"In this case, we had to present evidence that a jury could find, could convict Mr. Thompson of first-degree murder based on that it was planned and deliberate," said Crown attorney Mark Heerema.

The evidence cannot be reported because of a publication ban.

Heerema said the Crown is now planning for a trial.

"We're going to take some time to review the evidence so we have not made any final decisions," he told reporters outside the courtroom on Thursday.

"It's safe to say it'll be longer than a week. Likely a number of weeks."

Thompson was charged in January 2010, almost one year after Kostin went missing. He is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for an unrelated armed robbery at a Dartmouth video store.

He's due in Supreme Court next month.

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