Three men have all pleaded guilty to lesser charges in relation to the 2017 fatal shooting of a Surrey man in Abbotsford.
Alexander Blanarou, 24, was shot to death on Dec. 28, 2017 just before 2:30 p.m. in the 5300 block of Bates Road, south of Harris Road, in Abbotsford. Police arrived on scene to find his body in a nearby blueberry field.
Charges were announced in December 2020 against three men.
Edrick Raju and Islam Nagem were initially charged with first-degree murder, while Michael Schweiger was charged with second-degree murder.
Raju pleaded guilty on Oct. 18 to conspiracy to commit murder and manslaughter with a firearm, but the information could not be reported at the time due to a publication ban, which has now been lifted. A date for his sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
Nagem and Schweiger were due to go on trial starting Jan. 3, but Nagem has now pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a firearm. His sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 22.
Schweiger has pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to manslaughter, with his sentencing hearing scheduled for Jan. 24.
Investigators at the time of the killing said Blanarou was known to police and his death was believed to be a targeted hit.
Blanarou was identified in April 2016 by Bill Fordy – then Surrey RCMP’s officer in charge – as one of two people who had recently been arrested by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit for their involvement in the Lower Mainland “drug conflict.”
Fordy said at the time that Blanarou had been facing six drug and gun charges, but, in the end, he was never charged.