Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones are charged with the first degree murder of Jonathan Bacon, the attempted murder of James Riach, Larry Amero, Leah Hadden-Watts and Lindsay Black and multiple firearm offences. In court Monday, May 29 they stood up and each pleaded not guilty to all counts. They have been in custody since their 2013 arrest. Although evidence began after the guilty pleas were entered, BC Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton has yet to rule on an application to stay all charges due to the length of time from their arrest to the start of the trial. A decision on that matter is expected next Monday.
Jonathan Bacon, Larry Amero and James Riach were “hunted” before being gunned down at a busy tourist destination in Kelowna six years ago, says the Crown prosecutor in the long awaited trial.
Crown counsel Dave Ruse said Monday that he intends to offer evidence that the Aug. 14, 2011 shooting was the result of Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones executing an order made by rival gangster Sukh Dhak.
Multiple witnesses are expected to testify in support of the theory that Suhk Dhak—the lead member of the gang the Dhak Group— believed that his brother Gurmit Dhak had been killed by Amero, a Hells Angels, Riach, an associate of the Independent Soldiers and “their crew” which included Bacon, the leader of the Red Scorpions.
For that, he wanted revenge.
“Dhak said he wanted to target those people and he wanted them killed,” said Ruse.
“He instructed (associates) to hunt for those targets … hunting included identifying locations frequented by the targets, identifying vehicles driven by the targets and obtaining licence plates associated to those vehicles.”
If one of Dhak’s group saw the “targets” they were under orders to follow them and report the sighting.
That, said Ruse, was exactly how the events of Aug. 14, 2011 got underway.
Bacon, Amero and Riach traveled with Lyndsey Black and Leah Hadden-Watts to Kelowna Aug. 12, 2011, said Ruse.
They were staying at the Delta Grand Hotel, where Amero apparently had a private suite secured. His boat, which was bright orange and conspicuously labelled “steroids & silicone,” was parked outside the hotel in the lagoon and at some point he was hosting a party.
On Saturday the group went out for dinner and were ultimately spotted by those reporting to Dhak while at Gotchas nightclub. They partied until around 1 a.m., Aug. 14, 2011 then returned to the hotel.
Later that same morning, Ruse said, Dhak associate Manny Hairan—who is also now dead—along with Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones met at a location on Cawston Avenue to plan their attack.
A Ford Explorer that Ruse said belonged to Jones and was ultimately burned to a cinder was there.
“Jones had a map on the hood of the Explorer and was looking for escape routes away from the Grand,” Ruse told the court.
After mapping out an exit route, Ruse said McBride and Jones went into the hotel on a recognizance mission, wearing ball caps and hoodies disguising their appearance. When they met up with the other men, Ruse said, the discussion turned to where to go once the attack was complete.
Bacon, Amero, Riach and their female companions emerged from the hotel after brunch that Sunday, leaving their bags at the concierge and leaving the hotel through the rear doors to the lagoon area.
They boarded Amero’s boat, drove to the boat launch at Rose’s and it was then loaded onto a trailer. They walked back along Water Street to the Delta Grand courtyard, where Amero’s white Porsche Cayenne was parked.
At approximately 2:40 p.m. they got in the SUV.
Amero was in the driver seat, Bacon was in the front passenger seat, Riach was in the rear driver side passenger seat, Black was in the rear side passenger seat and Hadden-Watts was in the rear middle seat.
“After they got into the Porsche, the Ford Explorer pulled up to the passenger side of the Porsche, a gunman opened fire from within and outside the Explorer and the Porsche accelerated forward colliding with front driver side of the Explorer before crashing into the side of the building,” said Ruse.
“You will hear the gunman pursued the Porsche, firing at the vehicle. The Explorer pulled forward and the gunman got into the vehicle and sped off down Cawston Avenue.”
Bacon died from his gunshot wounds, Hadden Watts was shot in the neck and rendered a paraplegic, Amero was shot in the face, wrist and chest and Black was shot through both upper legs.
Riach escaped injury.
At the scene the police found 45 expended cartridge cases, two live rounds and numerous bullet fragments.
The trial continues.