Nova Scotia

Man charged in deaths of Tyler Richards, Naricho Clayton

Tyrell Peter Dechamp has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 2016 shooting deaths of Tyler Richards and Naricho Clayton in Halifax.

Tyrell Peter Dechamp, 27, of Halifax charged with attempted murder and 2 counts of 1st-degree murder

Tyrell Peter Dechamp of Halifax was due to be released from prison Friday after completing his entire sentence for a 2009 stabbing and a 2011 aggravated assault. (Halifax Regional Police)

A 27-year-old man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 2016 shooting deaths of Tyler Richards and Naricho Clayton in Halifax.

Tyrell Peter Dechamp of Halifax is also facing a charge of attempted murder for shooting a man who was 31 years old at the time of the incident, Halifax Regional Police said in a statement released Saturday morning. 

Dechamp was arrested on Friday at the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B.

Police said they took him back to Halifax on Friday. Dechamp is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on Monday to face the charges.

Deaths connected

Richards, 29, and Clayton, 23, were shot and killed within two days of each other in April 2016.

Police say Richards, who was a former St. Francis Xavier University basketball star and ex-Halifax Rainmen player, was found dead in a house on Cook Avenue in Halifax on April 17, 2016.

Tyler Richards, left, and Naricho Clayton, right, were shot and killed within two days of each other in April 2016. (Atlantic Funeral Homes/Facebook)

Two days later, police responded to shots fired on Gottingen Street and found two men inside a vehicle. Clayton, who was from Dartmouth, was pronounced dead at the scene and a 31-year-old man sustained life-threatening injuries.

Police said at the time they believed the deaths were connected.

Dechamp has criminal history

At the time of the shootings, Dechamp was on a statutory release from prison.

Dechamp was convicted of murder in 2009 for the Oct. 15, 2007, stabbing death of Matthew James Ayre on Gottingen Street.

He was sentenced under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Due to his age, his identity was protected at the time.

However, his identity became public in 2012 for an aggravated assault he committed in 2011 as an adult.

Halifax Regional Police Supt. Jim Perrin says the police investigation is ongoing and is open to the possibility that other people may have been involved in the murders. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Police issued a Canada-wide warrant for him on April 20, 2016 — the day after Clayton's death — after Dechamp failed to return to his Halifax halfway house the night before.

Finishing prison sentence this week

He was arrested April 28, 2016, in Ottawa. In August 2016, the parole board revoked his statutory release. 

Dechamp was due to be released from prison Friday, after completing his entire sentence for the 2007 stabbing and the 2011 aggravated assault.

Halifax Regional Police Supt. Jim Perrin said at a news conference on Saturday that police have been actively investigating the case over the last year.

Michael Karanicolas captured this image night Naricho Clayton and a 31-year-old man were shot in a vehicle on Gottingen Street in Halifax's north end. (Michael Karanicolas)

Perrin would not say anything about the motive, any evidence collected or why police laid charges now, but confirmed that all parties were known to each other.

"Recently, we got ... to the point where we were comfortable to make the arrest ... I can't get into the details," he said.

"Laying of a first-degree murder charge, it's the most serious charge that the police investigate and we want to make sure that our case is as strong as possible before we advance it to that point."

Investigation ongoing

Police said Dechamp will also be facing a charge of being unlawfully at large in relation to the Canada-wide arrest warrant that was issued in April 2016.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with more information is asked to contact police.

"We are open to the possibility that other people may have been involved [in the murders]," Perrin said.

This is the first memorial mural painted by The Blackbook Collective. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Quentrel Provo, who founded the group Stop the Violence, grew up knowning Clayton and his family in North Preston, N.S. He later became friends with Richards through the basketball community and described him as a "chill, laid-back guy, really good guy, who would help anyone." 

Provo said both men left behind young children who will now grow up not knowing their fathers.

'It's not going to be closure'

"It's hard seeing those things ... They lost their lives due to senseless acts of violence, but their legacy lives on through their families," he said.

"Hopefully, we can hope and pray that their family gets comfort, some sort of comfort, going through this tough time. "

Provo said charges more than 1½ years after their deaths is a "step forward," but the beginning of a long court process for the men's families.

"Sometimes cases go unsolved," he said. "It's a start, but it's not going to be closure. You can't bring back Tyler Richards, you can't bring back Naricho Clayton."

With files from Emma Davie