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New charges against B.C. gang leader
By James Keller, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER - An alleged gang leader already accused in a high-profile murder case in British Columbia is facing new allegations that he attempted to convince someone to kill a member of the same gang, according to a court document.
The new charges against Jamie Bacon were revealed Monday, just as the trial for two men involving the October 2007 murders of six people in Surrey, B.C. wrapped up in Vancouver. Bacon is awaiting trial in the same case.
Bacon was in court for his first appearance on three charges, including counselling someone to commit murder, as well as two other charges related to acting for the benefit of a criminal organization.
An indictment filed with the court identified the alleged target as a man who has figured prominently in the ongoing murder trial. The man, whose name is covered by a publication ban in the Surrey case and can only be referred to as Person X, pleaded guilty in April 2009 to three counts of second-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.
The indictment alleges Bacon counselled another man to murder Person X sometime between Nov. 30, 2008 and Jan. 2, 2009. The indictment notes that the murder did not occur.
Person X was expected to testify against Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston, who are each charged with conspiracy and six counts of first-degree murder in the Surrey shooting.
However, the judge in the Haevischer and Johnston trial ruled last year that Person X's evidence was inadmissible for reasons that have never been made public.
Bacon is also charged with conspiracy and one count of first-degree murder in that case. The Crown has suggested Bacon's murder trial could be heard early next year.
As Bacon appeared in court on Monday, Haevischer and Johnston sat in a secure courtroom four floors below for the final day of their trial after nearly 10 months of testimony.
The Crown's theory in the murder trial has been that the leaders of the Red Scorpions gang — Bacon and Michael Le — ordered the execution of a rival drug trafficker but five others were killed to eliminate potential witnesses.
Le also faced charges in the same murder trial, but pleaded guilty to conspiracy midway through the trial and testified against his former co-accused.
The Crown contends Haevischer, Johnston and Person X carried out the killings.
The trial heard from 73 witnesses, including several former gangsters, and offered a rare inside look inside one of the B.C.'s most violent street gangs.
The mass shooting, which is often referred to in local media simply as the "Surrey Six," came to define a bloody gang war that continued for another two years.
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Catherine Wedge said she planned to deliver her verdict Oct. 2.
The victims of the shooting included 55-year-old Ed Schellenberg, who was in the condo where the murders occurred servicing a gas fireplace, and 22-year-old Chris Mohan, whose family lived across the hall from the murder scene. Neither had anything to do with gangs or drugs.
Mohan's mother, Eileen, has been a constant fixture at the trial.
"It was my duty to represent him, to be here for him because he cannot talk for himself," she said outside the courthouse on Monday.
"I had to come to court every day to sit in front of (the judge) to tell her what I had lost. I've just not lost my only precious son, but I've lost my life, too."
The other victims all had links to gangs and drugs: Corey Lal, who the Crown alleges was the intended target, his brother Michael, Eddie Narong and Ryan Bartolomeo.
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