American fugitive wanted for murder ordered deported in immigration board hearing

HALIFAX — An Immigration and Refugee Board member has ruled that an American fugitive wanted for murder in Texas will be deported, with a wide publication ban on details of his case.

The 28-year-old is a suspect in the June 2019 death of a 78-year-old man in Eastland County, Texas

Board member Diane Tordorf issued a deportation order against Derek Cameron Whisenand in her April 30 decision, which was sent to The Canadian Press on Tuesday.

In her reasoning, Tordorf notes she hasn’t concluded Whisenand committed the Texas murder, but rather there is reasonable grounds to believe an offence was committed.

The American had been detained at a Halifax provincial jail since his Dec. 30 arrest, which came after police responded to a call about the shoplifting of work boots at a Walmart in the Bayers Lake area of Halifax.

The 28-year-old is a suspect in the June 2019 death of a 78-year-old man in Eastland County, Texas, about 170 kilometres southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He is alleged to have crossed illegally into Manitoba sometime in late June 2019 from North Dakota, where authorities found his car.

The fugitive hasn’t explained how he got to Nova Scotia, but he was found living in a tent near the commercial area in Halifax where he was arrested. The CBSA said he has no family or friends in Canada.

In March, Dianne Tordorf, a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, ordered Whisenand to remain detained at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on the basis he was a flight risk and a danger to the Canadian public.

She allowed media to attend the detention review hearing but imposed a sweeping publication ban on many of the details of Whisenand’s case, as well as most aspects of his hearings going forward.

Whisenand has told previous immigration hearings he fears for his safety if returned to the United States.

An admissibility hearing is a hearing to determine if a person is allowed to remain in Canada, and can include determining factors such as whether the person is a security threat or was involved in a crime.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press