Nova Scotia

Jury deliberations underway in murder trial over death of Tyler Michael Boyd Algee

The jury in the first-degree murder trial of Justin Ronald Adams-Clarke started their deliberations Thursday morning, after hearing final arguments and instructions from the judge and lawyers in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Wednesday. 

Adams-Clarke, 24, admitted to killing Tyler Michael Boyd Algee, 22, early in the evening of May 12, 2021, but he claimed he acted in self-defence.

The two men had only met the day before near Alderney Landing on the Dartmouth waterfront. Security video from buildings in the area showed Algee and two friends approaching on foot and Adams-Clarke shouting at them.

Things quickly escalated and Algee and Adams-Clarke scuffled, the videos showed. Algee, a mixed martial arts fighter, got the upper hand. According to witnesses and Adams-Clarke himself, he blacked out a couple of times while in a chokehold.

The videos showed Algee and his friends leaving the area. Adams-Clarke pursued them for a short distance, before turning back. The video showed him assaulting another friend when he returned to the Alderney Landing area. 

The next day, Adams-Clarke texted a friend: “He didn’t beat me up, really, he just picked up my sweater and ran, so I’m going to have to kill him today.”

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Police extracted data from phone

In addition to the text messages, police were able to extract data from Adams-Clarke’s phone showing Google searches he did on May 12. The topics included “410 shotgun” and “bird shot.”

The gun Adams-Clarke used to kill Algee was a sawed-off model 410 shotgun and the shell he fired contained bird shot; small pellets generally used for hunting birds.

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Adams-Clarke testified that he researched the gun online because he was getting ready to sell it and needed more information. The Crown said that explanation is not credible.

Both Adams-Clarke and Algee ended up back in the Alderney Landing area early in the evening of May 12. The Crown alleges Adams-Clarke went there specifically looking for Algee.

Yellow caution tape is seen blocking off a waterfront boardwalk.
The shooting happened near the Alderney Landing ferry terminal on the Dartmouth waterfront. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The two ended up behind the Peace Pavilion in the waterfront park, which was out of range of security cameras in the area.

According to testimony, the pair were headed for another confrontation. Algee removed his sweater and items from his pockets, as though he was getting ready for a fight.

Adams-Clarke removed the sawed-off shotgun from a bag he’d been carrying. He cocked the hammer. He told court he did those things to intimidate Algee and prevent a fight. He said Algee said “F–king shoot me,” pounding his own chest as he spoke.

Claims he fired in self-defence

Adams-Clarke said he did not fire until Algee started advancing on him. The blast hit Algee in the chest. He staggered away and collapsed. He died later in hospital. Adams-Clarke took off running, discarding the gun and articles of clothing as he ran. A police dog was able to track and locate the clothing and the gun.

In his testimony, Adams-Clarke claimed he was carrying the gun because he was going to take it out in the woods somewhere and fire it to demonstrate to a potential buyer that it worked. He said his girlfriend told him to get rid of it.

The Crown said Adams-Clarke carried the gun with him at all times because he feared encountering people he had “beefs” with. He had the gun with him on May 11 during his first encounter with Algee, but he did not bring it out of the bag it was concealed in.

Adams-Clarke testified he only meant to intimidate Algee with the gun to avoid a repeat of the previous day’s fight when he was quickly overwhelmed.

A police weapons expert tested the shotgun and found it would not accidentally discharge when dropped or jarred. The expert found the only way the gun would fire is if the trigger was pulled.

Justice John Bodurtha outlined the choices before the jury. They can find Adams-Clarke guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree or manslaughter. If, however, they accept his argument that he acted in self-defence, they must find Adams-Clarke not guilty and he goes free.

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