Defense arguments heard as 3 men convicted of Reno Lee murder appeal
REGINA -- Three men convicted of the 2015 murder of Reno Lee are appealing their first-degree convictions.
Daniel Theodore, Andrew Bellegarde and Bronson Gordon were each convicted in 2018 for Lee’s murder, following a trial that spanned nearly two months.
Reno Lee is pictured in this file photo.
Lee, who was 34 at the time of his death, was found dismembered and buried in a rural area northeast of Regina in April 2015.
A pathologist testified at the trial that he died of two gunshots to the head.
According to court documents, Theodore asked the appeal to be adjourned for a date when COVID-19 restrictions no longer prevented him from attending in person.
His request was denied and all three men appeared by video on Tuesday.
The appeal began on Monday where lawyers for Bellegarde and Theodore presented their arguments.
Tuesday morning, Gordon’s lawyer, Christopher Funt, argued that his client may have been following orders from someone higher up in the drug trade and believed Lee was being kidnapped, not murdered.
“There’s reason to think that the plan at the outset here was not to kill Reno Lee and something changed,” Funt said. “Perhaps he was being held at the orders of someone higher up in the food chain and new instructions were communicated,” Funt said.
Funt argues the judge of the trial was at or exceeding the limits of human endurance. He also argued that the court didn’t estimate the proper time it would take to go through the case.
“There was a theory that manslaughter could be established by reason that perhaps Mr. Gordon participated in kidnapping without the knowledge requirement for aiding and abeding a murder. He would then arguably be guilty of manslaughter,” Funt said.
Justice Jeffery Kalmakoff pointed out the trial judge told the jury if they did not find Gordon guilty of murder, he would be found guilty of manslaughter.
Funt argued that was not enough to be considered as instruction for the jury to consider manslaughter.
Crown prosecutor Dean Sinclair argued all the parties involved agreed with what was given to the jury.
“None of the parties claimed that the trial judges summary of the evidence was unnecessarily detailed or organized, and no one complained that it would not adequately assist the jury,” Sinclair said.
The judges reserved their decision on Tuesday afternoon