FILE PHOTO// Leif Hobson was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday morning.
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Leif Hobson pleaded guilty to the 2009 death of 66-year-old Edgar Marion in April.
The court heard how an argument sparked between the two friends in July 2009, which led to Hobson beating Marion with his fists and a wooden butcher's block. He then drove Marion's body to the Shuniah Mines area and lit the car on fire with Marion's body inside.
He also set Marion's apartment on fire after the murder in order to hide evidence.
On Tuesday Superior Court Justice Bruce Fitzpatrick accepted a joint submission from the defence and Crown attorneys, which included concurrent sentences for indignity to a body, robbery with violence and arson, that makes Hobson eligible for parole in 15 years.
In custody since 2009, Hobson will be eligible in 2024.
Dressed in a black suit with a white shirt, the 23-year-old Hobson stared at the ground as Fitzpatirck read his sentence. The court heard that Hobson, originally from Whitefish Bay, lived a hard life with his father and stepmother before coming to Thunder Bay.
"Which is pretty indicative of why he's before the court," his lawyer Gil Labine said.
After the sentencing Labine said his client has shown remorse since the incident. He wrote a letter to Marion's family, who were watching the sentencing by video Tuesday morning. Hobson confessed to the murder in January.
"He did that voluntarily and on his own in order to put an end to this matter and provide comfort and solace to the Marion family," Labine said.
Hobson has requested that he serve his sentence in Kent, B.C., a maximum security prison that has Aboriginal rehabilitative programming.
"It will allow him to start fresh with a different type of population," Labine said.
In a victim's statement the Marion family has said that they have a profound sense of loss.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Hobson and Marion, 19- and 66-years old at the time respectively, were friends in July 2009. Hobson was helping the victim sell his Oxycocet pills that he had a prescription for.
Hobson had been arrested on the weekend of July 4, 2009 and was released from custody on July 7. He was ordered to live with his girlfriend, who was concerned about Hobson’s affiliation with Marion.
Hobson believed Marion had shared information with his girlfriend and her mother and went to confront him about it on July 8, 2009.
The confrontation became heated and Marion became upset thinking that Hobson wanted to change their drug dealing arrangement. Hobson assured the victim he was still loyal.
Hobson tried to leave the apartment but noticed Marion had his hand in his pocket. Hobson was worried Marion either had a knife in his pocket or a cell phone. He feared Marion was prepared to call connections who would come after him.
Without trying to flee or get by Marion, Hobson punched the victim, knocking him unconscious.
When Marion regained consciousness, the two men briefly argued and then Marion tripped Hobson as he tried to leave.
In his statement, Hobson said he became angry, turned around and beat down Marion. He hit him with his fists and smashed his face and head with a wooden knife block.
Hobson knew the victim was seriously injured and sat on the couch and watched Marion lay in a pool of blood. Marion asked ‘why?’ and died shortly afterwards.
The post-mortem report states Marion died of blunt force injury to the head and face. The estimated time of death is between 1 and 2:30 a.m. on July 9.
Hobson wrapped up the victim’s body in a blanket and carried it to the victim’s car. The accused then took a television, computer, cell phone, DVD player, TV stand, fire extinguisher, baseball cap and cash from the apartment and put it in the trunk of the car.
Hobson took the vehicle, picked up a friend, known to the courts as S.D., and obtained two jerry cans of gasoline. He returned to Marion’s apartment and set it on fire.
Hobson and S.D. drove the vehicle, with the body and stolen property to the Shuniah Mines area. They left the stolen property in the bush and drove towards the bike trails in the area.
Hobson propelled the vehicle down an embankment, moved Marion’s body to the trunk and used the second can of gasoline to set the car on fire.
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