Kelowna: Three British Columbia men charged with first-degree murder in the death of a notorious gangster have pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a brazen shooting that also injured four others outside a Kelowna hotel.
Jason McBride, Michael Jones and Jujhar Khun-Khun entered their pleas Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna for the murder or conspiracy to murder Jonathan Bacon.
Bacon, a member of the Red Scorpion gang, was in a Porsche Cayenne when it was riddled with bullets on the afternoon of Aug. 14, 2011.
The accused were also charged with the attempted murders of four others in the vehicle, including a woman who was left paralyzed.
The court has heard that Larry Amero, a member of the Hells Angels, and Independent Soldier James Riach were both in the SUV.
After multiple delays in a B.C. Supreme Court trial that began in May 2017, the Crown filed a new indictment last month.
Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service, said McBride pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder in Bacon’s death and the attempted murders of other four in the Porsche.
He said Jones and Khun-Khun pleaded guilty to conspiring with McBride, Sukhveer Dhak, who was shot dead at a hotel in Burnaby in 2012, and others to commit the murders of Amero, Riach and Bacon.
A judge reserved his sentencing decision until Wednesday, McLaughlin said in a statement.
Surveillance video played in court during the trial showed glimpses of the chaos that unfolded when masked gunmen shot up the Porsche outside a hotel.
Of the 38 primary bullet holes that pierced the car, only one appeared to have been caused by a bullet coming from inside the vehicle, a forensic firearms expert told the court.
A video time stamped 2:40 p.m. showed people getting into the vehicle.
Moments later, two gunmen dressed in black are seen running toward it as a crowd of bystanders run between them toward the hotel to escape.
One witness broke down in tears while testifying about being caught up in the shooting.
“As they got closer to where we were … the shooter stopped and looked at us,” Judy Jones said, crying. “As he looked, he aimed his gun towards us, and there was another shooter on the left who also looked at us, and then they just carried on shooting.”
Another woman recalled pulling her young children out of the way as the Porsche drove toward them.
“I told my daughter to run as fast as she could, whatever happens, do not turn back, just keep running,” said Siu Ling Xu.
Three months later, police found three firearms in some bushes and believed they were associated with the shooting.
McBride, Jones and Khun-Khun were arrested and charged in February 2013.
Khun-Khun survived targeted shootings in 2011 and 2013 and has some permanent injuries.
Defence lawyers had applied for a stay of proceedings in May 2017 based on a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that said Superior Court trials should be concluded no more than 30 months after charges are laid.
Justice Allan Betton rejected the application, saying the emergence of gangster witnesses and difficulty accessing emails on an encrypted BlackBerry phone caused significant delays in the trial.
By Andrea Peacock, Kelowna Daily Courier, The Canadian Press