4 members of The Greeks gang appealing murder convictions

Four men with ties to a Vernon, B.C., gang known as The Greeks who were found guilty last year for their roles in three separate murders are appealing their convictions.

5 gang members were found guilty for their roles in the murder of three men in 2004 and 2005

A court sketch of five members of The Greeks gang while on trial for various charges of murder and manslaughter last year. (CBC)

Four men with ties to a Vernon, B.C., gang known as The Greeks who were found guilty last year for their roles in three separate murders are appealing their convictions.

In Nov. 2012, a jury found five members of the gang — Peter Manolakos, Dale Sipes, Leslie Podolski, Sheldon O’Donnell and Douglas Brownell — guilty of various murder and manslaughter charges after a trial that lasted nearly 18 months, the longest criminal trial in B.C.’s history.

Two of the victims — David Marniuk and Thomas Bryce — were gang associates that were brutally tortured before being killed in 2004.

The third victim, Ronald James Thorn, was shot more than seven times along a remote road outside Vernon on a mistaken suspicion that he was a police informant in 2005.

Manolakos, the purported leader of the gang known for its extensive heroin and cocaine distribution networks, was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 25 years for his role in the murders.

Brownell is now the only gang member not appealing his conviction. 

Clinton Bowman, defense lawyer for O’Donnell, says the judge made mistakes during the trial and that there are a number of grounds for appeal.

“We’re alleging that the trial judge unfairly overstated the crown’s case and did not adequately explain a number of defenses and the way in which the defense was viewing the evidence in its charge,” he told CBC News.

The appeals will be considered by a court in February 2014. 

With files from CBC's Brady Strachan

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