UPDATE: Steven Neville found guilty of second degree murder, attempted murder

Published on February 1, 2013
Steven Neville

Steven Neville has been found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder by a Newfoundland Supreme Court jury this afternoon.

Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 10 years served before parole eligibility. However, the jury can recommend the number of years before parole eligibility be increased.

After the verdict was announced, Neville remained calm and looked back at his parents who were sitting in the courtroom.

One juror was seen crying following the verdict, as was defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan, and members of the families of murder victim Doug Flynn and attempted murder victim Ryan Dwyer.

Courtroom No. 4 at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s was crowded for the announcement of the verdict.

The jury — which was reduced to 11 members after one jury couldn't continue for personal reasons — had left the courtroom at 5 p.m. Wednesday to begin deliberations and came back to the court three times to ask the judge legal questions, before returning with the verdict this afternoon.

Jurors sat through seven weeks of testimony during the trial, which began in October 2012 and saw more than two dozen witnesses take the stand.

Neville was tried on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Doug Flynn and the attempted murder of Ryan Dwyer, which stem from a double stabbing that happened in Paradise on Oct. 9, 2010.

Neville was found guilty of the included offence of second degree murder in the stabbing death of Doug Flynn and attempted murder of Ryan Dwyer.

 

 

 

 •••

(Earlier story)

The jury has reached a verdict in the murder case of Steven Neville, the court has been informed.

The verdict will be heard when court resumes shortly at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.

Neville faces charges of first-degree murder in the death of Doug Flynn and the attempted murder of Ryan Dwyer, which stem from a double stabbing that happened in Paradise on Oct. 9, 2010.

Jurors sat through seven weeks of testimony during the trial, which began in October 2012 and saw more than two dozen witnesses take the stand.

The jury left the courtroom at 5 p.m. Wednesday to begin deliberations and came back to the court three times to ask the judge legal questions.

The Telegram website will have the details as soon as they become available.

•••

(Earlier story)

 

Jury asks judge for clarity

Members return three times to ask for further explanation of murder law

 

 

The first full day of deliberations saw jurors in the murder case of Steven Neville come back three times to ask the judge legal questions.

 

Both times, the inquiries centered on clarification about what constitutes first-degree murder.

 

Neville faces charges of first-degree murder in the death of Doug Flynn and the attempted murder of Ryan Dwyer, which stem from a double stabbing that happened in Paradise on Oct. 9, 2010.

 

Jurors sat through seven weeks of testimony during the trial, which began in October 2012 and saw more than two dozen witnesses take the stand.

 

The jury left the courtroom at 5 p.m. Wednesday to begin deliberations.

 

At around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the seven women and four men returned to Courtroom No. 4 at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's to ask Justice Carl Thompson to shed some light on the specifics of first-degree murder.

 

Since first-degree murder requires an element of planning and the Crown has to prove it was deliberate, jurors wondered if there could be other factors.

 

They asked, in order for it to constitute first-degree murder, does it only have to have been proven that Neville planned to kill the men and that his actions were deliberate.

 

Thompson explained to them that it can also constitute first-degree murder if Neville "caused Flynn's death with bodily harm that was so serious and dangerous that he knew it would likely cause death."

 

It took less than 10 minutes and they returned to the jury room.

 

Four-and-a-half hours later, they were back to ask the judge the definition of deliberate - which is needed to conclude it was first-degree murder - and provocation - which is an element included in the charge of manslaughter.

 

To explain provocation, Thompson referred to the Criminal Code of Canada, which states it to be a wrongful act or insult that is enough to cause someone to lose the power of self control, or if the accused acted in the heat of passion.

 

Deliberate, he explained, is "slow to decide," "not impulsive," "not sudden" and "considerate."

 

Minutes later, the jury returned to resume their discussions.

 

The jury's third question came just an hour later.

 

However, the judge did not read it aloud in court and chose not to give a response.

 

Instead, he apologized to jurors and told the group to refer to the instructions he had already given them on the subject.

 

They then retired for the day at around 6 p.m.

 

During the trial, Neville's lawyers - Peter Ralph and Rosellen Sullivan - argued that Neville acted in self-defence against Flynn and Dwyer, who, they say, had been terrorizing Neville for months.

 

They said the men had been hunting him like prey.

 

Crown prosecutors Robin Fowler and Jason House said it was Neville who was the aggressor. They contended that Neville knew exactly what he was doing and had planned to kill the men.

 

••••

 

(Thursday story)

 

The jury is out in Neville case

Jurors must review more than seven weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses

 

Rosie Gillingham

 

The fate of a Paradise man who stabbed two men, killing one of them, is now in the hands of seven women and four men.

 

The jury in the murder trial of Steven Michael Neville began deliberations at around 5 p.m. Wednesday following a full day of instruction from Justice Carl Thompson at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.

 

As in all trials, the judge gave a lengthy explanation of the charges to jurors and directed them in what they should and shouldn't consider when coming to a decision on whether or not Neville is guilty.

 

"There's no magic formula on how much of the testimony you should rely on," he said.

 

Neville is charged with stabbing Doug Flynn and Ryan Dwyer on Oct. 9, 2010, on Carlisle Drive in Paradise.

 

Dwyer suffered knife wounds to his sides, arms and back, but recovered. Flynn died from knife wounds to the temple and chest.

 

Neville faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

 

His lawyers - Peter Ralph and Rosellen Sullivan - argued that Neville acted in self-defence against Flynn and Dwyer, who, they say, had been terrorizing Neville for months.

 

They said the men had been hunting him like prey.

 

Crown prosecutors Robin Fowler and Jason House disputed that, saying Neville was the aggressor. They contended that Neville knew exactly what he was doing and had planned to kill the men.

 

Whether Neville did or not, Thompson made one thing clear to jurors - "Steven Neville does not have to prove anything."

 

The judge stressed to them that Neville is presumed innocent and that it was up to the Crown to prove Neville didn't act in self defence.

 

"Guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Thompson said. "Even if you believe he's probably guilty or likely guilty, that is not sufficient (to convict)."

 

For a defence of self defence, the judge said the jury must consider whether or not Neville felt he had no other choice but to do what he did in order to preserve his own life.

 

He said the jury must also ask whether Neville used more force than necessary to protect himself. However, Thompson added that in certain situations, it's difficult for the person to measure the amount of force necessary. Therefore, they must consider Neville's perception of the situation at the time.

 

The jury will also have the option of finding Neville guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

 

The judge explained that with first-degree murder, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that what Neville did was planned and deliberate - an element not needed for second-degree murder.

 

For manslaughter, the judge said, the jury must decide whether or not Neville was provoked or acted in the heat of passion.

 

"When Steven Neville killed Doug Flynn, did he lose the power of self control?" Thompson said, in pointing the factors to be considered.

 

The attempted murder charge could also be reduced to aggravated assault or assault. The jury must decide whether Neville meant to kill Dwyer.

 

In making their decision, the jury will have the unenviable task of reviewing seven weeks of testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, as well as written and videotaped police statements, several photos and thousands of text messages, which became pivotal in the case.

 

The jury - which was reduced to 11 members early last week, when one man couldn't continue for personal reasons - retired at around 6 p.m. for the night Friday at their hotel to be sequestered.