National News

Crown wraps case at gang murder trial

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The Crown has wrapped up its case against two alleged gang members accused of killing six people, including two innocent bystanders, near Vancouver.

Prosecutor Mark Levitz says the Crown called 73 witnesses and tendered 241 exhibits at the trial of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston.

Haevischer and Johnston are each charged with conspiracy and six counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of six men who were found in a high-rise condo in Surrey, B.C., in October 2007.

The Crown alleges the leaders of the Red Scorpions gang sent Haevischer, Johnston and a third man to execute a rival drug trafficker, but they killed five more people to eliminate potential witnesses.

One of the witnesses was Michael Le, one of the founders of the Red Scorpions, who was also on trial until he made a deal with the Crown and pleaded guilty last year.

Lawyers for Haevischer and Johnston plan to make several applications beginning on Friday before revealing whether they intend to call any evidence.

The victims included Corey Lal, who was the alleged target, Lal's brother Michael, Eddie Narong and Ryan Bartolomeo, all of whom had links to gangs and drugs.

The other two victims were fireplace repairman Ed Schellenberg, 55, and building resident Chris Mohan, 22, who were both in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Le pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 12 years, though he will be eligible to apply for parole by the end of the year.

One man, who can't be identified, has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Alleged gang leader Jamie Bacon is also charged with conspiracy and one count of first-degree murder and will be tried separately. Le is expected to testify at his trial.

Another man, Sophon Sek, is awaiting trial for manslaughter.

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