September 30, 2016 - 11:37 AM
CALGARY - The sister of a man charged in the shooting death of a Canadian Football League player says she's praying "the truth will come out" to prove his innocence.
"I don't believe he did it at all. I believe there's someone else out there ... who did it ... but they don't tell the truth," said a tearful Flora Lugella, who spells her name differently than her younger brother, Nelson Tony Lugela.
"I'm just so upset because another person's life has been taken away, and also an innocent person has to go through something he didn't do," she said Friday outside a Calgary courtroom.
Lugela's sister and parents were there to provide moral support as he made his first court appearance on a charge of second-degree murder.
Wearing a blue jail jumpsuit, the 19-year-old said nothing during the brief appearance via closed-circuit television. The case was adjourned to Nov. 4.
Lugela was charged Monday following the shooting of Mylan Hicks outside a nightclub early Sunday morning.
Hicks, a 23-year-old defensive back who was on the practice roster of the Calgary Stampeders, was gunned down outside the Marquee Beer Market and Stage.
Officers found Hicks wounded and in life-threatening condition. He was taken to hospital where he died.
Police say there was an altercation that involved several people inside the nightclub that moved outside after it closed. Several members of the Stampeders were in the bar at the time.
"My brother was there. He was drunk. That's the only thing I know of. He doesn't remember what happened," said Lugella, who added her brother is "very afraid" in jail.
"I spoke to him on the phone and I asked. I know my brother very well. If he did it, he would tell me because we're really close."
Police recovered a firearm at the scene.
John Lugela said he also believes in his son's innocence.
"I know him ... I don't think he would do something like that," he said.
The family moved to Calgary from London, Ont., in 2006. Lugella said she worries the public will think they are a "terrible family."
She said she will work three or four jobs if necessary to make sure he has good legal representation.
"I'll continue praying ... the truth will come out, whoever did it will come out," she said.
She also said she will talk to Hicks's family.
"I'm sorry for their loss."
Hicks signed with the Stampeders in May but hadn't played a game this season.
His parents, who arrived in Calgary this week and met with the team, weren't in court Friday.
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Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version spelled the sister's last name incorrectly.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016