Reputed gang leader Jamie Bacon pleaded guilty Thursday (July 9) to a charge stemming from shootings in 2007 that left six people dead at a highrise apartment building in Surrey.
Bacon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to murder Corey Lal in the so-called Surrey Six case.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of counselling to commit murder in a separate case involving the shooting of a man who survived an attack on Dec. 31, 2008.
In that case, it was alleged Bacon planned a shooting that targeted Dennis Karbovanec. A mistrial was declared in April 2019 after the jury failed to reach a decision.
Sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for July 23 when victim impact statements will be heard by the court.
Court heard a joint sentencing submission that includes 18 years for conspiracy to murder and 10 years for counselling to commit murder to be served concurrently.
Outside court, defence lawyer Kevin Westell said if the sentencing submission is accepted, Bacon is looking at an additional five to six years in prison after time served is taken into account.
“This has been a long, deliberative process of coming to the right agreement with the Crown,” he said. “We’ve come to a resolution that’s principled and that’s appropriate from all sides.”
Bacon was also charged with one count of first-degree murder in the Surrey Six case, but only pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge as part of a plea deal. Court heard the murder charge will be stayed at the sentencing hearing.
Police have said four of the victims were targeted but Chris Mohan, who lived on the floor where the killings occurred, and Ed Schellenberg, a maintenance worker, were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Eileen Mohan said outside court that she would like to see Bacon serve at least 12 years for his part in the Surrey Six case.
“It breaks my heart,” she said when asked about the possibility Bacon could be free in five or six years.
“This crime came to my doorstep. We didn’t go to it, and this crime dictated my son’s life that he’s buried and dead now, and it’s dictating our lives for the last 13 years. That has to be considered.”
Mohan said she will deliver a victim impact statement in person at the sentencing hearing.
“I will have my day in court with him,” she said.
“Six people’s lives meant something to this country and to the laws of Canada.”
It’s yet to be determined whether Bacon will appear at the sentencing in person or via video link due to restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
In court documents, the Crown alleges that at the time of the murders Bacon was a leader of the Red Scorpions gang.
The officer in charge of the investigation previously told the court it was one of the largest and most complex investigations that police have undertaken in the province. By November 2016, about 1,300 officers had been involved in the investigation.
In 2014, two men were convicted of six counts of first-degree murder in the Surrey Six case.
Cody Rae Haevischer and Matthew James Johnston, were eventually convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy in the murder of Lal.
Charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the 2007 Surrey Six massacre were stayed against Bacon in December 2017. The reasons the judge granted the stayed ruling remain sealed.
Crown Counsel appealed that decision shortly after. On Thursday (May 21), the BC Court of Appeal announced it had granted Crown’s appeal following an in-camera hearing.
In the statement, the court said that the reasons on this decision are also sealed.
Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
– With files from Beau Simpson, Ashley Wadhwani