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Glen Assoun, man wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder, has died


Glen Assoun, who served almost 17 years in prison for murder until his conviction was overturned in 2019, has died.

Assoun’s lawyer Sean T. MacDonald confirmed to CTV News Thursday that he died Wednesday night at a restaurant in Dartmouth.

Halifax police said they were called to assist EHS with a medical emergency at 11 Fyne Ln — The Keg Steakhouse + Bar — in Dartmouth around 9:50 p.m. Wednesday. Police declined to confirm if EHS were responding to Assoun.

The Halifax man, who was in his 60s, was convicted in 1999 by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court with the 1995 murder of his former partner Brenda Way. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of applying for parole for 18 years.

He spent the next 16 years and eight months behind bars.

In 2014, the federal Justice Department said a preliminary assessment determined there could have been a miscarriage of justice, and an in-depth investigation was ordered before Assoun was released from prison with conditions.

Then in 2019 it was revealed that a joint RCMP-Halifax Regional Police unit had destroyed evidence regarding alternative suspects to Assoun, prior to his unsuccessful appeal in 2006.

The conviction was then overturned.

“Glen’s passing is a tragic end to a sad life,” said Ron Dalton, the co-founder of Innocence Canada who is himself an exoneree.

“He had a difficult life before he went to prison and it got much more difficult while he was in prison. And that homicide is still not solved,” he said.

Way was stabbed to death in November 1995 and her body was left in a parking lot behind a Dartmouth apartment building.

“There’s a legacy there that whoever killed Brenda Way has never been brought to justice,” Dalton said.

Assoun reached a compensation deal in 2021 with the Nova Scotia and federal governments for his wrongful conviction. The amount of the settlement and its details have not been released.

“He got some compensation for what he and his family had been through, but that doesn’t buy back the 22 or 23 missing years. Glen’s physical and mental health wasn’t that great when he got out of prison,” Dalton said, adding that he had suffered three heart attacks while in prison.

“I don’t think he found a lot of peace. I’ve had Glen over here in P.E.I. at our home for a couple of nights. And he found moments of peace, he enjoyed his freedom a bit, but he was mistreated for so many years that I don’t think he ever fully got peace.”

In an emailed statement Thursday, Assoun's lawyer said "our hearts are collectively broken."

"Our prayers are with Glen’s family right now. He was an inspiration and beacon of strength and determination for all of us associated with the innocence movement,” MacDonald said.

Dalton expressed similar sentiments.

“You would hope that Glen’s legacy will live on. He was an inspiration to our organization and to other wrongly convicted people like myself,” he said.

“He was in prison for 17 years, and he was on bail for another five years after that before we could prove his innocence. But he never wavered.”

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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