The two men convicted of the first-degree murder of six people in Surrey in 2007 are being sentenced this morning in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were found guilty in October of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the mass killing in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Surrey on Oct. 19, 2007.
Although the murder convictions come with an automatic sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years, today’s hearing will allow the victim’s families to provide victim impact statements and for a sentencing decision to be made on the conspiracy charge.
The trial of Haevischer and Johnston began in September 2013 and included 73 witnesses over 80 days of testimony.
The Crown said the accused were members of the Red Scorpions gang at the time of the killings and participated in a plan to kill rival drug dealer Corey Lal.
The other five were killed to eliminate witnesses, according to the Crown.
Two innocent victims – fireplace repairman Ed Schellenberg, 55, of Abbotsford and Christopher Mohan, 22, who lived across the hall from suite 1505 – were among the victims who were fatally shot.
Also killed were Lal, his brother Michael, Eddie Narong and Ryan Bartolomeo, all of whom had gang and drug connections.
Jamie Bacon, allegedly the leader of the Red Scorpions at the time of the murders, has also been charged in the case. He is scheduled to go to trial in May on one count each of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. He was living in Abbotsford at the time of his arrest.
Michael Le initially went on trial with Haevischer and Johnston, but entered a surprise guilty plea to the conspiracy charge in November and then became a star witness for the Crown.
Another man, who can only be identified as Person X due to a publication ban, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and is serving a life sentence.
Bacon has also been charged with counselling another person to commit an indictable offence, the commission of an offence for a criminal organization, and instructing the commission of an offence for a criminal organization.
The charges allege that Bacon was involved in a plot to kill Person X sometime between Nov. 30, 2008 and Jan. 2, 2009.
Another man, Sophon Sek, is also awaiting trial – on a charge of manslaughter – in the Surrey Six killings.
– with files from Sheila Reynolds