Surrey Six killers given automatic life sentences

VANCOUVER — Two men were given automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years today for their roles in the October 2007 gangland Surrey Six murders.

Cody Rae Haevischer and Matthew James Johnston were each convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Haevischer was sentenced to life for the first-degree murder charges and given 18 years for conspiracy to commit murder, which was reduced to 4.6 years after pre-sentence credit was deducted. The two sentences are to be served concurrently.

Likewise, Johnston was given a life sentence for his murder charges, plus 20 years for the conspiracy charge.

PREVIOUSLY:

Two men convicted in the Surrey Six murders should be sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to kill drug dealer Corey Lal, one of the victims in the October 2007 gangland slaying, a prosecutor argued Friday.

Cody Rae Haevischer and Matthew James Johnston were each convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

For the murder convictions, the two Red Scorpions gangsters will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

The only issue for the judge on sentencing is how much time the two men get for the murder-conspiracy conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Not often does an offender get a life sentence in a murder-conspiracy case, but Crown counsel Mark Levitz said the “unique” and “horrific” circumstances of the Surrey Six case called for the maximum sentence.

Levitz told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce she needed to send out a “loud and clear” message that a peaceful, civil society will not tolerate such conduct.

He said there were seven aggravating factors and no mitigating factors, noting the slayings were execution-style fatal shootings and occurred while the victims were defenceless on the floor of a high-rise apartment in Surrey.

He said the killings were motivated by a gang rivalry for control of the drug trade and were committed to avoid detection after Lal was shot to death.

The murders occurred in the Balmoral Towers, a residential building, where the danger of the public being caught in the crossfire was high, said Levitz.

The prosecutor noted Johnston had a long criminal record, including a conviction for manslaughter, and both Johnston and Haevischer were both gang members who lived a criminal lifestyle.

Simon Buck, a lawyer for Haevischer, noted there was no discretion for the murder convictions.

He said a fit sentence for his client on the murder-conspiracy count was 10 years in jail.

Much of the sentencing hearing was taken up with Levitz and several family members of the murder victims reading into the record victim impact statements.

Eileen Mohan, the mother of murder victim Christopher Mohan, wept as she sat in the witness box reading out her statement to the judge.

“I want my Christopher back by any means possible,” she said plaintively. “What do I do to bring him back? You have seen the picture of the strong Eileen but you have never seen the destroyed Eileen. This is my pain and anger.”

 

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