Accused killer of Samantha Higgins loses again to have murder charge reduced

A Montreal man accused of killing his fiancée in 2015 has lost again in his bid to have his first degree murder charge reduced to second degree murder.

Nick Fontanelli was ordered to trial in March of last year in the first degree murder of Samantha Higgins. 

He contested it but lost two months later. 

Superior Court Justice James Brunton had ruled that the evidence showed the alleged murder and sexual assault were closely linked and justified a first degree murder charge. 

Fontanelli's lawyer had argued that the evidence did not correspond to the definition of sexual assault and the alleged assault did not lead to the suspected murder.

The court of appeal backed up the lower court ruling saying the defence's arguments were not well founded, citing a decision that says it doesn't matter in what order the alleged crimes happened but the link between them.

The appeal court judges cited another ruling whereby a jury could reasonably conclude that the murder and sexual assault of the victim happened "in an uninterrupted series of events that constitute a single affair," such as a sexual killing.

Fontanelli's trial is scheduled to proceed next year.