Justice Alison J. Wheeler determined on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, that Roy Douglas Snyder will stand trial for the charges of second degree murder and possession of a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence.
Snyder stands accused of murdering David “Jaeger” Hodgson, a 51-year-old man living in Kingston, who was stabbed in the parking lot of the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) on Montreal Street in the early morning hours of Monday, Jan.10, 2022. Hodgson died shortly thereafter, and Snyder was arrested and charged later that day.
Both men were known members of the ICH community who sought the services offered there.
Wednesday began with a delay after an overcrowded schedule at the Ontario Court of Justice on Wellington Street necessitated a change of venue. Instead, the final day of the preliminary hearing began at 11 a.m. (an hour later than planned) at the Frontenac County Courthouse at 5 Court Street in Kingston.
Snyder was led into the courtroom in leg and hand shackles and took his seat in the prisoner’s box, where his handcuffs were removed. He wore a parka with a fur-trimmed hood throughout the day.
The courtroom was empty of spectators. A close member of Hodgson’s family watched the proceedings remotely.
After a morning of final submissions by the Crown and the defence, Justice Wheeler asked for an hour-and-a-half lunch break to deliberate, saying, “I might have a decision for you this afternoon; I’m not promising it, but I might.”
However, on their return to the courtroom, Snyder and the lawyers were told by the court clerk that Justice Wheeler had requested another hour and would return at 3 p.m. with a decision.
After one more fifteen-minute recess, Justice Wheeler returned at 3:15 p.m. to announce her decision.
Justice Wheeler began by listing one by one each fact that she contended was “not in dispute,” having been determined through corroborating witness testimony and through surveillance video evidence. However, as previously noted, an order under Section 539 of the Criminal Code of Canada bans the publication of evidence given at a preliminary hearing until either the charges against the accused have been dismissed or, if the accused is ordered to stand trial, the trial has ended.
In cases where a file is transferred from the provincial court to the Supreme Court for the purposes of trial, the ban remains in force until the trial has ended. However, the ban does not apply to any evidence given during the trial.
After discussing the evidence before her, Justice Wheeler declared that the charge of possession of a weapon was not disputed by the defence and would stand and that Snyder should stand trial for the charge of second degree murder.
According to Canadian law, a death is generally deemed a culpable homicide if there is blame to be assigned.
The difference between first and second degree murder is planning and deliberation. First degree murder is a homicide that is both planned and deliberate: for example, contract killing. A first degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
However, second degree murder is, generally, a deliberate killing that occurs without planning and does not fall under any of the categories of first degree murder. The minimum sentence is life in prison with no parole for 10 years, but sentences can be as long as life in prison without parole for 25 years.
Pre-trial hearings will begin on Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2023, at 3 p.m. at the Frontenac County Court House Superior Court of Justice.