Father of murder victim dismayed at pleas in Bacon case
'I want justice for my son. He didn't deserve that, and he was too good to deserve that.'
The father of an innocent man who was gunned down in Burnaby, B.C. five years ago in a case of mistaken identity is wondering if his son's killers will ever be brought to justice.
Michael Barber, reacting to news that charges were stayed against five accused in his son's murder, says he still finds it hard to talk about his son's death.
"It's as raw as ever, and just a meeting like this just brings it all back," he said. "He should be here with me, and he's not."
Jonathan Barber was 24 when he was shot and killed on the Mother's Day weekend in 2008 while driving down Kingsway in a Porsche Cayenne SUV. Barber's 17-year-old girlfriend, Vicky King, was following behind in Barber's car, and was seriously injured when the killers opened fire on her as well.
A year after Barber's death, investigators were appealing for help from the public to help see justice in the death of the innocent man.
Police said Barber, a stereo installer, was mistaken for his client, Jamie Bacon — a notorious gang member who is now serving time on a weapons conviction.
On Monday, the Crown stayed murder and attempted murder charges against five alleged United Nations gang members and associates originally accused of taking part in the hit that killed Barber and injured King. The five men appeared in court to plead guilty to a different charge — conspiring to kill the Bacon brothers and their Red Scorpions gang associates.
- Alleged UN gang members plotted Bacon brothers' murders
- Innocent man was killed in botched shooting: police
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said the charges were stayed because available evidence didn't link the five men to Barber's death.
"The evidence that will be put forward in the proceeding does not establish that any of these accused were directly involved in the death of Mr. Barber, or the attempted murder of Ms. King," he said.
Barber's father says he understands the difficulties facing Crown prosecutors, but doesn't know why no one warned him the murder charges would be dropped.
"It makes me feel like things are fading away. I don't want to be feeling that way, and I don't want Jon's name to be fading away," he said. "I want justice for my son. He didn't deserve that, and he was too good to deserve that."
Another UN gang member accused of taking part in Barber's murder, Daniel Russell, made a plea deal in April and the Crown dropped his murder charge to a charge of manslaughter.
Investigators reminded the public Monday afternoon that the case isn't over yet. Police tweeted photos of another man, Cory "Frankie" Vallee, who has a Canada-wide warrant out for his arrests on several charges, including the murder of Jonathon Barber.
Five years after the shootings, police are still asking for anyone with information to come forward.
With files from the CBC's Eric Rankin