Recap: The Trial of William Joles
On the morning of Sunday August 28, 2016 Nathan Deslippe was found brutally murdered in his own apartment at 323 Colborne Street.
Arrested on scene was William Joles, one of Nathan’s best friends. Joles would be charged with second degree murder. He was also charged with forcible confinement, assault and uttering death threats to Ashley Charters, whom he called to the apartment after the beating of Deslippe.
The trial of William Joles began on May 7th 2018 with jury selection. It would last a little over a week before a verdict was reached.
While plenty of evidence and testimony would be heard over this time the focus of the trial was actually very simple.
Joles had already admitted to killing Nathan but testified that he had blacked out due to alcohol and had no explanation for the death. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the crown rejected the plea pushing for second degree murder.
It would then be up to the jury to decide if Joles intended to kill Nathan. Second degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, with parole eligibility being set anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
Day one of the trial consisted mainly of testimony from Ashley Charters, Joles’ on again off again girlfriend, who he called to the apartment in the early morning following the beating.
Watch day one here.
The jury heard how Joles forced her to help with the cleanup; how he said he had killed Nathan. Charters testified that Joles threatened to stab her and kill her. She also said that Will attempted to have sex with her during this time.
Throughout the time in the apartment Charters tried to talk to Joles but said he wasn’t making much sense, repeatedly saying he (Nathan) was “disrespectful.”
It was when he went to the washroom that she saw her chance to escape, running down 18 flights of stairs before heading to a convenience store nearby to try and call police.
Watch Ashley Charters recount her experience in the apartment here.
Day two of the trial focused on Joles’ level of intoxication. Charters was questioned by the defence to clarify her accounts of how drunk Joles was when she saw him.
Defence lawyer John Getliffe noted that Charters had responded to dispatch that Joles was “really hammered,” but at trial said he was not severely drunk.
Charters explained she was panicked at the time of the call and responded again that he was not severely drunk.
This matched up with the testimony of another friend who had encountered Joles that morning who also said that he was not severely drunk.
Four police officers were called to testify saying Joles offered no resistance when police arrived on scene.
Police found Nathan’s body in the bathtub to which Joles said he had been dead for about six hours. Police testified that Joles speech was not slurred when he was read his legal rights.
All four officers noted how much blood there was throughout the scene.
Day three would detail the autopsy results as the jury heard the gruesome details of Nathan’s injuries.
Watch day three here.
He had injuries to his neck, including ruptured blood vessels that showed he may have been strangled or had his neck compressed in some fashion.
There were several bruises, including those on his arms which were characterized as defensive wounds.
Nathan also had severe injuries to his brain, one above the right eye and the other nearer his right ear. There were injuries to the connectors between nerves cells caused by blunt force trauma. Nathan may have been alive but unconscious following the beating for anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours.
It was on day three that the ill-fated photo that Joles took of himself following the beating would first be shown to the jury.
He blacked out. That would be the constant emphasis from William Joles as he took the stand in his own defense.
Watch report on Joles' Testimony here.
Joles took a selfie of himself sometime after the beating, while naked. The Jury also heard how Joles took a shower over Nathan’s body in the tub. He said he didn’t remember taking the photo, but then said he took it to try and see why he had blood on his face. His testimony would be filled with inconsistencies of this nature.
Initially the jury was only shown the photo from the waist up, but when Joles said he took the photo with shorts on Crown attorney Vanessa Decker pointed out that this was not the case and suggested he took the photo in the nude because he was reveling in what he had done.
Decker emphasized to Joles that his memories seemed selective and the blackout was convenient.
Decker suggested that Joles’ anger led him to the killing, but Joles insisted he would never have wanted to harm or kill Nathan. However Decker pointed out that Joles never called 911, an odd choice for someone who says he didn’t want Nathan to die.
Decker also emphasized it was then strange for him to call Charters over, confine her, and threaten her with death.
From here the trial would head to closing arguments, followed by jury deliberation. The decision would ultimately hang on the balance of whether Joles intended to kill Nathan.
After seven hours of deliberating the jury returned with a verdict.
There was a moment of confusion in the court room when the Judge asked if the jury had reached a verdict and it was read out as not guilty. This was supposed to be in reference to manslaughter, they had actually found Joles guilty of second degree murder.
Two months later during the sentencing Justice Jonathan George called the case “very troubling.” He pointed out that Joles' actions following the murder were reprehensible in reference to threatening Charters, taking the naked selfie, and showering over Nathan’s body.
Watch report on the sentencing here.
All total there were 43 impact statements submitted to the court from the Deslippe family, friends of Nathan’s and those who knew him throughout the community.
Joles would be sentenced to life without parole for 14 years, but with time already served he would eligible for parole in a little over 11 years.