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Deportation decision for Texas homicide suspect to be made in February

Derek Cameron Whisenand, who is wanted in Texas for murder, was arrested Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, for suspected shoplifting at a business in the Bayers Lake business park in Halifax.
Derek Cameron Whisenand, who is wanted in Texas for murder, was arrested Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, for suspected shoplifting at a business in the Bayers Lake business park in Halifax. On Feb. 11, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada will rule if Whisenand is to be deported back to the United States. - RCMP handout
HALIFAX, N.S. —

A Texas homicide suspect’s time is running out. 

On Feb. 11, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada will determine whether or not Derek Cameron Whisenand, 28, is to be deported back to the United States, a board member ruled Friday. 

On Dec. 30, Whisenand was arrested by a Halifax Regional Police officer outside the Walmart on Chain Lake Drive in Bayers Lake for wearing a new pair of boots out of the store without paying for them. 

Whisenand was the subject of a warrant for the murder of 78-year-old Burton Duane Sanborn, whose body was found in his home in Eastland County, Texas, in June.

Whisenand, originally from North Dakota, was suspected to have fled to Canada after his car was found in Walhalla, N.D., about three kilometres from the Canadian border. RCMP said at the time that he crossed the border near Haskett, Man., during the week of June 24, “before travelling to Winnipeg and possibly eastern Canada.”

At the time of his arrest, Whisenand was living in a tent with his dog in the woods near the Highway 102-Lacewood Drive off-ramp. 

He has remained in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside since Dec. 30.  

Accused shuns hearing

On Jan. 8 at his seven-day detention review, Whisenand asked that his admissibility hearing be postponed so he could obtain legal counsel. 

“I explained the importance to obtain legal counsel in a timely matter and that he should be ready to proceed (Friday),” Dianne Tordoff, board member of the immigration division, said. 

But Friday's hearing didn't proceed.

“Whisenand has refused to come out of his cell this morning,” Tordoff said via teleconference at Whisenand’s hearing in Halifax on Friday. 

“I find that Whisenand is not diligent and being absent from his admissibility hearing means we have to delay, again, a proceeding that should have taken place on Jan. 8.” 

Tordoff said she adjourned his admissibility hearing as Whisenand has a right to be present for it, but can’t keep postponing the hearing because he refuses to attend. 

Tordoff ruled Whisenand’s admissibility hearing will proceed on Feb. 11 “whether or not he’s ready to proceed, whether or not he has counsel (and) whether or not he’s present.” 

Michel Gallant, of the Canada Border Services Agency, said if Whisenand is ordered to be deported, the U.S. consulate in Halifax will provide an emergency travel document on the day of his removal. 

Gallant added that Whisenand has refused to participate in interviews with CBSA officers.

Whisenand will remain at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility as he’s considered a flight risk and risk to public safety. 

His admissibility hearing will be held on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. 

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