Surrey killer loses appeal of his murder conviction

Surrey killer loses appeal of his murder conviction

VANCOUVER — Surrey convicted murderer Gary Donald Johnston will continue to serve his life sentence for the 1998 stabbing murder of Vic Fraser.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Edward Chiasson dismissed Johnston’s appeal of his conviction, with Justices Daphne Smith and Harvey Groberman concurring.

“This is the big one, I feel this is it,” said the victim’s sister, Jeanie Fraser, reacting to the appeal court’s decision. “He may appeal the sentencing, but good luck. It’s amazing what it takes to get these dirt bags off the road.”

In November 2011 Johnston, now 54, was sentenced to the mandatory life sentence, and to serve 15 years in prison before he can apply for parole, after Justice Robert Crawford found him guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing of Fraser, 42, on March 10, 1998.

A trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster heard in 2011 that Johnston stabbed Fraser, a New Westminster crane operator, nine times, breaking off knife blades in his neck before bludgeoning him with a flowerpot, booting him in the ribs and making off with his wallet.

The court heard Fraser had interrupted Johnston while he was burglarizing the little yellow bungalow in Bridgeview that Jeanie Fraser owned. Fraser died of massive blood loss.

After Fraser’s death, Johnston made his way to Regina where, eight-and-a-half months later, he stabbed caretaker Wayne Griffith multiple times in the neck, wrapped his body in plastic and dumped it in a desolate field.

Originally charged with second-degree murder in that case, Johnston pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years, plus time served. He did seven.

Undercover RCMP officers posing as an organized crime gang approached Johnston when he was on parole and roughly 60 scenarios were enacted in Ontario and Quebec, over six months, to win his trust. The 2011 trial heard that during their last scenario Johnston told the undercover cops that he’d stabbed Fraser about 30 times in the throat, and also offered to carry out killings for the bogus crime syndicate. He was arrested immediately after that.

The killer’s life-long criminal record began at age 18 and since then he’s been convicted, sometimes on multiple occasions, of burglary, assault causing bodily harm and extortion, besides the Saskatchewan manslaughter conviction and his murder conviction in the Fraser case.

While satisfied with the decision, Fraser noted nothing will bring her dead brother back.

“It still isn’t going to change,” she said. “We have a lifetime sentence.”