Jamie Bacon’s first-degree murder charge in Surrey Six killings will be stayed

FOR Eileen Mohan, the mother of innocent South Asian victim Christopher (Chris) Mohan, 22, justice must indeed seem as a joke – a cruel joke – as the first-degree charge of murder in the notorious Surrey Six murders in 2007 is to be stayed against Red Scorpion leader Jamie (James Kyle) Bacon.

Chris Mohan’s memorial. Photo by Chandra Bodalia

Thanks to a plea agreement between Crown and defence, Bacon on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit the murder of Corey Lal in the Surrey Six murders and counselling someone to murder an associate, Dennis Karbovanec, in another case in 2008. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker found Bacon guilty on both counts. But the first-degree murder charge in the Surrey Six murders will be stayed at the time of sentencing on July 23.

Bacon had been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of Corey Lal, one of six people who died on October 19, 2007, at the Balmoral Tower building in Surrey.  In 2014, Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to this case.  Both offenders are now serving life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years. However, they have appealed their convictions.

Chris Mohan, who lived with his parents in their apartment next door to Corey Lal, and gasfitter Edward J. Schellenberg, 55, of Abbotsford, who was performing maintenance on the fireplace in Corey Lal’s apartment, were the innocent victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Four other victims who police said led criminal lifestyles – brothers Corey Lal, 21, and Michael Justin Lal, 26, and Edward (Eddie) Sousakhone Narong, 22, and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19 – were also executed in typical gang-style fashion at Apartment 1505 of the Balmoral Towers at 9830 East Whalley Ring Road in Surrey that day.

Last May, the B.C. Court of Appeal had announced that Bacon could be tried in the Surrey Six murders case, setting aside the stay of proceedings by a B.C. Supreme Court judge on December 1, 2017.

But then this week, a deal was suddenly announced.

Eileen Mohan told the CBC: “You have no idea how much loss we have [suffered]. They stole Christopher and they stole our lives too. It took him 13 years to plead guilty and 13 years we’ve been running around in circles. Had he been genuine, then he would have pleaded guilty a long time ago.”

And she told Vancouver Sun’s Kim Bolan: “I would have preferred this to go to trial. Honestly, I would have taken my chances at the trial — whatever the outcome — rather than him cutting a sweetheart deal.”

Bacon’s defence lawyer Kevin Westell told reporters that if the joint submission was accepted, he will serve another five to six years as he would get 12 years pre-trial credit against the 18-year deal.

Crown counsel Bob Wright told reporters the joint sentencing submission is 18 years on the Surrey Six conspiracy and 10 on the counselling charge and is expected to be concurrent.