Man charged in 2 London deaths to stand trial for 2nd-degree murder of Emmanuel Awai

A 27-year-old man accused of second-degree murder in the deaths of two separate London men will be going to trial for at least one of the cases against him.

The courts set aside five days for William Dwayne McDonald’s preliminary hearing, starting Wednesday, but it took Justice Kevin McHugh little more than half the day to decide McDonald would be standing trial on a charge of second-degree murder, in relation to the 2016 shooting death of Emmanuel Awai.

The purpose of a preliminary hearing is for the judge to rule whether there’s enough evidence for a trial. The evidence presented during the preliminary hearing is protected by a publication ban.

Second-degree murder charge laid in shooting death of Emmanuel Awai

Awai, whose friends and family were in court on Wednesday, was found dead of a gunshot wound in an east-London apartment building on Connaught Avenue, Dec. 28, 2016.

McDonald, of no fixed address, was taken into custody by London police on Feb. 15, 2017, with help from the provincial police’s Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement (ROPE) squad.

A little more than two months later, on May 26, London police laid another charge of second-degree murder against McDonald in relation to the 2012 death of Jonathan Zak.

London police charge William McDonald for 2012 murder of Jonathan Zak

It had been nearly five years since Zak was fatally shot while walking home from a friend’s house on May 31, 2012, through Northeast Park in the city’s east end.

At the time, police called it a “random killing,” and suggested robbery may have been the initial motivation.

A few weeks after charging McDonald in relation to Zak’s death, London police laid a manslaughter charge against 25-year-old Thomas Lako, in connection to the same incident.

London police charge 25-year-old man with manslaughter in Jonathan Zak homicide case

McDonald will be back in court on June 5, where his defence lawyer, David Stoesser, says they’ll set a date for a pre-trial in relation to the Awai death. Stoesser says sometime in July, they’ll set a date for a trial.

Stoesser said he’d be representing McDonald on both second-degree murder charges, and that charges against his client stemming from a shooting off Richmond Row in April 2016 had been dropped.

A preliminary hearing regarding the death of Zak is expected to take place in September.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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