THE three accused in the August 14, 2011 murder of Red Scorpions leader Jonathan Bacon – Jujhar Khun-Khun of Surrey, Michael Jones of Gibsons, and Jason McBride of North Vancouver – who had pleaded guilty on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna were convicted and sentenced on Wednesday.
The three accused were arrested on February 22, 2013, and charged with the first-degree murder of Bacon as well as four counts each of attempted murder.
Manjinder “Manny” Hairan, 29, who was shot dead on January 15, 2013, in Surrey, was also involved in the Kelowna shooting.
Bacon, Larry Amero, a full-patch Hells Angels member from White Rock, and James Riach of the Independent Soldiers along with two women, one of whom is related to several Hells Angels members in Haney, were attacked in Kelowna. While Bacon was killed, Amero and the two women sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Riach, who was also injured, fled the scene.
On April 19, all three had their charges amended by BC Prosecution Services. The new indictment was before the BC Supreme Court in Kelowna on April 20 for a first appearance and was adjourned to May 1 when all three accused entered guilty pleas.
On May 2, the accused were sentenced based on a joint submission of statement of facts by BC Prosecution Services and defence counsel, resulting in the following:
McBride pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempt to commit murder of four individuals. He was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 18 years. He will also serve a concurrent 15-year sentence for the attempted murders. He will receive credit for time served in pre-trial custody.
Jones pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 18 years, with credit for time served he will serve a sentence of 10 years.
Khun-Khun pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 18 years, with credit for time served he will serve a sentence of 10 years.
“The investigation into the murder of Jonathan Bacon and the attempted murders of Larry Amero, James Riach, Lyndsay Black, and Leah Hadden-Watts was extremely large and complex. Over the past six and a half years, hundreds of dedicated and committed officers and support staff from numerous agencies have been involved,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett, Chief Officer of the CFSEU-BC, on Wednesday. “Today will hopefully bring some comfort to the community and all of those adversely impacted by the violence that took place on that summer day in 2011. It should also serve as a reminder to those involved in perpetrating gang violence that we will be relentless and resolute as we help bring those individuals who threaten our communities with gun violence to account.”
“When these types of violent crimes occur in our towns and cities it can have a dramatic impact on the people who live, work and visit them,” says Superintendent Brent Mundle, Officer in Charge of the Kelowna RCMP. “Today’s convictions and sentencing is a testament to the hard work of investigators from multiple police agencies to hold those responsible accountable, and to protect the communities we serve.”
(As it appeared in the print edition of The VOICE newspaper on May 5)
IN June 2017, it was revealed that former associates of the three charged with the first-degree murder of Red Scorpion gang leader Jonathan Bacon – Jujhar Khun-Khun of Surrey, Michael Jones of Gibsons, and Jason McBride of North Vancouver – would be testifying against them at the trial that had gotten underway at the B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.
Last September, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton released his detailed ruling explaining why he had dismissed a defence motion last June to stay charges against the accused on the basis of a breach of their right to be tried within a reasonable time. In the ruling, he provided more information about those who had agreed to testify against the accused.
The ruling noted: “The police investigation into the incident, assigned the name Project E‑Nitrogen, began almost immediately. Investigators very quickly recovered the burnt remains of the suspect vehicle, linked to Mr. Jones, as well as clothing linking the three applicants [Khun-Khun, Jones and McBride] to the shooting. The firearms used in the incident were recovered in November 2011, and security video from the Grand Hotel and surrounding businesses yielded further evidence regarding the movements of additional vehicles of interest on the morning of the incident.”
The ruling revealed: “In December 2011 and again in May and June 2012, Manjinder Hairan gave statements to police detailing his role in the shooting, as well as that of the three applicants and a number of Mr. Hairan’s associates. Among the associates were AZ and LO (both of whom … later became cooperating witnesses for the Crown).”
The ruling said: “By the time of a PTC [pre-trial conference] on January 9, 2015, the Crown’s approach to proving its case against the applicants had evolved as the first of four individuals who had previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of the shooting provided witness statements and agreed to testify for the Crown. That witness was AZ, who gave several statements to police in late January 2014, and entered into a limited immunity agreement (“LIA”) in May 2014. As AZ was in custody on an unrelated matter, the Crown advised that disclosure could not occur until arrangements for his security were put in place some months later.
“While this was going on the police were engaged in trying to secure the cooperation of other witnesses in addition to AZ. Those efforts were successful and two further witnesses agreed to testify for the Crown. LO had begun engaging in the LIA process in January 2015. He provided several statements to police between April and June 2015, and his LIA was finalized in December 2015. He also waived his informer privilege at that time. However, the relevant disclosure could not be made until [redacted], and safety concerns related to his status as a cooperating Crown witness were addressed, which occurred in January 2016.
“MN had given a witness statement to police in March 2015. Given [redacted], investigators were of the view that disclosure related to MN could not occur until the disclosure related to LO could also be made.
“The cooperation of these witnesses led the Crown to change its trial strategy. Instead of seeking the admission of Mr. Hairan’s hearsay statements, it would now rely on the circumstantial evidence of AZ and the two new witnesses to prove the identity of the perpetrators, what came to be known in this application as Plan B. The Crown informed the applicants in a brief letter dated September 24, 2015 that it would no longer be seeking to rely on Mr. Hairan’s hearsay statements.”
The ruling also stated: “In June 2016, a further witness came forward to cooperate. HU [redacted], and began engaging in the LIA process with E‑Nitrogen investigators. He provided statements in June and July 2016, and an agreement was finalized in August 2016.”
LAST year, Prosecutor Dave Ruse had said in his opening statement in court that former associates of the three charged with Bacon’s murder would testify that the three accused and Hairan were in Kelowna to kill Amero, Bacon and Riach after learning that they were partying there.
The Lower Mainland gang war that was raging involved the Dhak-Duhre group and United Nations gang, on one side, and the ‘Wolf Pack’ of some Hells Angels with Independent Soldiers and Red Scorpions.
Gurmit Dhak, described as a charismatic gang leader by police, was shot dead in 2010 and that started a whole chain of violent events that are still reverberating.
In January 2012, Sandip Duhre was shot dead in a blatant assassination in a downtown Vancouver hotel bar and later a ruling by a B.C. Supreme Court judge revealed that Riach was one of the gang members seen at the scene.
Gurmit’s brother, Sukh, who was himself shot dead in 2012, blamed Amero and Riach for his brother’s death and wanted revenge.
One of the former associates of the three accused told the court last year (as reported by the Kelowna Daily Courier) that the Dhak brothers used to present beads like white gold balls with Chinese characters to their crew. These probably cost about $5,000 to $6,000 per set.
He testified that it was mainly Gurmit’s crew that possessed them and that after his death, Sukh started presenting them to his crew. Gurmit also gave a set to Khun-Khun.
The witness had also testified that Sukh texted “Congratulations, LOL, go have a drink” when he heard that Bacon had been killed, the Kelowna newspaper reported.
IN January, Vancouver Police arrested Amero, now 40, for one count of conspiracy to commit the murder of Sandip Duhre and one count of conspiracy to commit the murder of Sukhveer (Sukh) Dhak.
Amero, a resident of Ottawa, was arrested with the assistance of the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Biker Enforcement Unit. He will remain in custody in Ontario until he is transported to B.C. to face the conspiracy charges.
Dean Michael Wiwchar, 32, was charged with one count of murder in relation to the murder of Sandip Duhre and one count of conspiracy to commit the murder of Sukhveer Dhak.
Thirty-year-old Rabih “Robby” Alkhalil is charged with the murder of Sandip Duhre.