Accused in vendor slaying got break in 2020 robbery

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Nearly two years before he was arrested in the slaying of a 19-year-old employee at a city beer vendor, William Sampson received a “pretty lucky” break for his part in another beer vendor robbery, court records show.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/03/2022 (343 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Nearly two years before he was arrested in the slaying of a 19-year-old employee at a city beer vendor, William Sampson received a “pretty lucky” break for his part in another beer vendor robbery, court records show.

Sampson, 51, was one of three men arrested recently in the Feb. 15 killing of John Lloyd Barrion, who was shot during a late-night robbery at the Travelodge hotel beer store on Notre Dame Avenue.

A family member told the Free Press Barrion was found in a staff-only area behind a protective shield, which has an opening to allow transactions.

John Lloyd Barrion was killed during a late-night robbery at a Notre Dame Avenue beer vendor. (Facebook) John Lloyd Maaba Barrion, 19, who died after he was found injured at a beer vendor in Winnipeg early Tuesday morning, February 15, 2022. City police are investigating his death as a homicide. Winnipeg Free Press 2022

In April 2020, Sampson pleaded guilty to a single count of robbery in connection to two robberies committed on the same day at a Henderson Highway Shoppers Drug Mart and the beer vendor at the Four Crowns Inn on McPhillips Street.

The Crown stayed more than a dozen related charges, and along with the defence, jointly recommended that provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston sentence Sampson to time served of 234 days, plus two years of probation.

Frailties in the Crown’s case and pandemic-related complications reduced the chance of prosecution had the matter gone to trial, Crown attorney Tim Chuddy told court.

Court was told Sampson and a male co-accused entered the Shoppers Drug Mart shortly before 7 p.m., immediately walked behind a service counter and demanded a clerk open the cash register. The clerk complied and the two accused left the store less than a minute after they had walked in.

Two hours later, the two men and a third accused getaway driver robbed the beer vendor at the Four Crowns Inn. Court was provided no details of the robbery.

Police arrested Sampson in a room at the Windsor Hotel three days later.

Rolston agreed to the joint recommendation, telling Sampson he was “pretty lucky” to receive such a light sentence.

Defence lawyer Kristen Jones told court Sampson was born in Halifax, spent much of his childhood in foster care, and moved west in his mid-20s. He had worked in construction and as a cleaner and bar bouncer.

Sampson and co-accused Ryan Jeron Smith, 40, are charged with second-degree murder in Barrion’s killing, as well as armed robbery, weapons charges and other offences.

A third accused, Robert Francis, 37, is charged with manslaughter and other offences.

All three men remained in custody Tuesday.

Barrion and his family immigrated to Winnipeg from the Philippines when he was a baby and dreamed of becoming a chef. He started working at the beer vendor four months ago and had recently completed his training and probationary period. Barrion, a Tec Voc High Shool graduate, shared his earnings with his parents.

Ponz Mapuyan, whose sons were close friends with Barrion, said the Filipino and wider community have rallied to support Barrion’s family. A GoFundMe campaign set up in the family’s name for funeral expenses had raised more than $15,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We never thought we’d be creating a GoFundMe page for our best friend,” fundraiser organizer Joshua Lim said in a message posted on the page. “The simplest and quickest way to describe him is that he was the light in the darkness inspiring everyone he met.”

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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