Man convicted in death of former firefighter

Dec. 8, 2017, St. John’s, N.L. – A 29-year-old man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a former firefighter who tried to intervene during an alleged robbery.

Brandon Phillips shot and killed 63-year-old Larry Wellman during an armed robbery at the Captains Quarters in St. Johns, N.L., on Oct. 3, 2015.

The jury returned with its verdict Friday morning in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, finding Phillips not guilty of the original charge of first-degree murder, but guilty of the lesser charge.

He’s now facing an automatic sentence of life in prison.

Defence lawyers called it a ”devastating day” for both families involved, and said they may appeal.

At the time of the killing, Phillips was dating Jade Ball, daughter of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball.

Earlier this week, the premier won an interim injunction preventing media outlets from publishing a story about certain court documents in the case, pending a Dec. 19 hearing.

In a statement, the premier’s lawyer said that Ball ”as a private citizen, provided information of his own accord to the police regarding a ”homicide” in October 2015.

The statement says the premier recognizes his actions ”are now arguably a matter of public interest,” but says ”as a father, he has acted to protect the privacy of an innocent person”, and he could not comment further on the matter.

The documents in question were not provided to the jury.

Ball had told reporters he would be willing to take the stand at the murder trial but was never called to testify.

The Phillips case will return to court next Friday to set a date for sentencing. He faces a minimum of 10 years before any chance of parole.

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