Willier guilty of first-degree murder
Anthony Robert Willier, 22, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. The B.C. Supreme court jury returned its verdict about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jurors deliberates for about five hours. Tension, then tears, filled the emotion-charged courtroom as several spectators who were seated on opposite sides – friends and family of Willier and of the deceased Nathan Marshall – reacted to the verdict. The moment the word "Guilty" was pronounced by the jury foreman and the other jurors stood to confirm their decision was unanimous, Willier's grandmother Edna Cardinal, angrily stormed out, followed by another family member. A young woman seated to the right of where Willier stood in the prisoner's dock, cried openly as a man tried to comfort her. Before sentencing him, a stern B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams had harsh words for Willier. "This case (is) a very, very sorry state of affairs ... it shows the often violent business ... of drug dealing and gang activity (which) is an affront to the decency of this community ... Mr. Marshall is dead and you're going to prison for a long time ... Absolutely no good (has) come of this." Under Canadian Criminal law, Willier must serve a mandatory 25 years before being eligible for parole. Three victim impact statements from members of Marshall's family were entered as exhibits by Crown counsel Oleh Kuzma. Asked by the judge if he had anything to say before he pronounced sentence, Willier dropped his head. "Is that a no?" asked Williams. Willier responded with a barely audible, "no." Outside the courthouse, Cardinal was very vocal about her thoughts on the decision. "He's innocent," she said, several times. Defence lawyer Keith Aartsen told the Free Press he really had "nothing to say – because there is nothing to say," moments after the verdict but he told Cardinal he plans to appeal. Besides the mandatory life sentence, Willier also was handed down a life prohibition for possessing any firearms, explosives etc. and as well, he must submit to providing bodily DNA samples. The murder trial got underway last Monday. Williams began his instructions to the jury around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Marshall was 27 years old when he was gunned down outside his Hemlock St. house the morning of Feb. 17, 2010. In earlier testimony Friday, Dr. James Stephen, a pathologist, said the cause of death was massive bleeding from multiple gun shot wounds. Two of the three bullet wounds found on Marshall's body caused extensive damage to the heart, lung and other organs.