|A CTV Image of Mohan and Schellenberg|
The murder trial begins today, six years after the crime. Six years is a long time to wait. It’s a long time for the families of two innocent men to wait for justice to prevail within our system of law. The case is popularized as the Surrey Six because six victims were found dead in an apartment suite. Four of the victims, Edward Narong, 22, Corey Lal, 21, his brother Michael Lal, 26, and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19 were the intended targets in a drug related turf war. Christopher Mohan was 22-year-old student who lived nearby and 55 year old Ed Shellenberg was doing routine furnace work in the building. They were in the wrong place when evil went down.
Police believe the two innocents stumbled upon the scene as the shooting went down. Ed and I were acquaintances, but so many others also knew this affable, happy man and counted him as a friend. The loss of these two men was a dreadful shock to all who knew them. Their families grieve still. At this trial in the B.C. Supreme Court, the prosecution will present a case against several members or associates of the Red Scorpion Gang alleging that Matthew Johnston, Cory Haevischer and Quang Vinh Thang (Michael) Le conspired to murder and did in fact murder. Jamie Bacon, the alleged gang leader will face trial separately at a later date on a first-degree murder charge. Another man who cannot be identified because of a publication ban concerning the court proceedings of his case, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder. Quite possibly he turned informant. Jamie and his two brothers, Jonathan and Jarrod were publicly identified as the leaders of the Red Scorpions during a period when gunfire was a recurrent news item around Vancouver. In early January there were 31 shootings within a month and a half. Jamie is presently incarcerated for weapons offences and his brother Jarrod is serving 14 years for drug trafficking. Jonathan was killed in a gangland slaying in Kelowna in 2011. The case became more complicate when during the past two years, RCMP announced that four of their officers who had been involved in the murder investigation were now facing 20 charges of obstruction of justice, breach of trust and with fraud. Then in May 2013 and additional charge of theft under $5000 was filed against one these former officers. The public, somewhat apathetic to the seething gang warfare and violence, was jolted by the realization that ordinary innocents can become victims and that this criminality needs greater attention and prevention requires stronger support.
The trial could take an entire year to conduct. Many publication bans are imposed, so news journalism will be restricted.
NEW!! THE GLOBE AND MAIL'S account of the first day's court proceedings,