A well known Hells Angel and an associate who were caught by Mounties driving on the outskirts of Salmon Arm with a significant cache of weapons could ride out the rest of the decade behind bars.
Joseph Skreptak and Corey Montemurro were each handed a five year prison sentence Tuesday, less time served, for a series of firearms charges related to a Nov. 25 2010 incident.
“The accused were travelling in a rental vehicle with an arsenal of weapons,” said BC Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton.
In addition to a sawed-off shotgun that was tucked into shopping bag fit with a hole for the barrel, Betton said Mounties uncovered more guns, bear spray, ammunition, bats, a hickory stick, a cell-phone jammer, body armour and balaclavas.
The reason why the men were armed was never verified in court, although during the trial Crown counsel Sandra Dworkin alleged they had a plan in the works to menace someone in the Tappen area.
Betton didn’t venture into the reasoning for the crime being dealt with during sentencing, but he did say the items collected “are consistent on a whole with particularly aggravating facts.”
He also noted that Skreptak’s involvement with the Hells Angels was not connected to the particular details of the offense—although his standing with the motorcycle club didn’t help him any, either.
As is the standard in sentencing hearings, men and women facing prison time ask their friends, families and associates to pen letters of support and send them to the courts. Through those letters the courts learn more about how the accused contribute to the world, beyond the crime that’s being dealt with.
In this case, Betton said letters describe both men as having strong work ethics and ties to their community of friends and family.
Skreptek also tried to use his affiliation to the Hells Angels as an attribute.
The motorcycle club, his lawyer contended, helps children’s charities and the food bank, and Skreptak was proud to be a part of it.
Betton pointed out that “being in the Hells Angels is not like being a Rotarian” and Skreptak’s membership did not reflect positively on his’s character.
To illustrate what kind of influence the Hells Angels have on even their closest associates, Betton turned to the pre sentencing report from Skreptak’s co-accused, Montemurro.
Within the pages of that report, Montemurro was said to be fearful of telling what happened on the night he was arrested because it would put him at risk from the biker gang.
Throughout the trial Montemurro continually maintained he was not a member of the Hells Angels, and in the sentencing report he reiterated that point. It said that while he knew some members through going out or being at the gym, he wouldn’t consider them friends.
Regardless of their connections to the biker gang, Betton gave the duo the same five-year sentence, pointing out that on the whole they were equally responsible for the crimes committed.
At the trial, Skreptek was the only witness to speak on behalf of defence, and he said that he had no idea the weapons were in the car. He claimed he was just looking for some real estate on the late-night tour through the Interior.
The trial judge rejected that story.
Charges against two other men in the vehicle that night in 2010 were stayed.