Nearly 13 years after directing the hit that would result in B.C.’s worst gangland slaying, Jamie Bacon will face a reckoning Friday.
The Red Scorpions gang leader will appear before the families of the victims of the so-called Surrey Six killings as a B.C. Supreme Court justice begins the process of sentencing him for conspiracy to commit the murder of a rival.
Bacon, who pleaded guilty to the charge last month, will also be sentenced for counselling someone to commit the murder of an associate in a separate case.
But it is his role in the Surrey Six killings that is expected to take centre stage at the proceedings — as loved ones of the dead recount the pain wrought by their loss.
‘I can cry myself to death’
The three underlings sent to carry out Bacon’s orders on Oct. 19, 2007, killed Corey Lal, who was the subject of the hit.
But they also murdered Lal’s brother and two more of his associates.
And they killed Ed Schellenberg, a maintenance worker who happened to be on a service call in the highrise apartment where the killings took place, and Christopher Mohan, a 22 year-old who lived with his mother across the hall from the scene of the crime.
Two days have been set aside for the sentencing, but Crown lawyers indicated at Bacon’s plea hearing that they will be seeking a combined sentence of 18 years for the two crimes.
Bacon has been behind bars since he was arrested in 2009. His lawyers estimate that he could be free in five to six years.
Mohan’s mother, Eileen, will read her victim impact statement while Bacon watches. She says she’s hoping Justice Kathleen Ker will ignore the deal the lawyers appear to have reached in crafting Bacon’s plea agreement.
But she believes the chances are slim.
“Honestly, I have no hope at all that the judge will change the plea deal agreement between the Crown and Bacon’s lawyers,” Mohan said.
“I can cry myself to death, that will not change … Even though I don’t agree, I’m not happy — I have to accept what the courts have put forward.”
Rival ‘had to be killed’
As part of the sentencing proceedings, the Crown is expected to elaborate on two short summaries of fact they entered into the court file when Bacon pleaded guilty.
According to those statements, Bacon and Lal were both involved in the Lower Mainland drug trade in October 2007 when a dispute arose between them.
Lal was told he had to pay Bacon a $100,000 tax, which he refused to do.
“At a Red Scorpions meeting that same evening, Mr. Bacon told his fellow Red Scorpion gang members that Mr. Lal had to be killed because of his failure to pay the tax,” the summary of fact says.
A plan was hatched, but the person who was originally supposed to carry out the hit withdrew. And so Bacon directed two associates to kill Lal at his “stash house.” They were joined by a third man, and the three carried out the murders together.
Bacon’s second guilty plea concerns a plan to kill Dennis Karbovanec, a Red Scorpion who Bacon believed had been “slacking” at his job, “doing pills and sleeping with girls” and threatening the gang leader’s profits.
According to the agreed statement of facts in that case, Bacon developed a plan that saw Karbovanec lured to Mission on the pretext of participating in a marijuana grow operation rip-off.
Instead, one of the men with whom he arrived started shooting at him.
Karbovanec escaped with an abrasion to his scalp and a bullet wound in his back.
‘This is my opportunity’
A total of six people have been charged in relation to the Surrey Six murders.
Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were given life sentences in 2014 for six counts of first-degree murder. They are both appealing.
The other killer — known by court order as Person X — pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and once count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Two more men pleaded guilty to breaking and entering to help the killers gain access to the suite. Michael Le, who co-founded the Red Scorpions with Bacon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in exchange for testimony against Haevischer and Johnston.
Mohan says she has written her victim impact statement.
“This is the only time I get to say something in these proceedings, the only time,” she said.
“This is my opportunity. I have had no opportunity at all — no say. Christopher now belongs to the state. He belongs to the courts and the laws of our country. He doesn’t belong to me anymore.”
Ker is expected to hand Bacon’s sentence down on Sept. 11.