Security tight as Surrey Six accused makes court appearance

A man accused in the brutal slayings of six men in a Surrey highrise in 2007 made his first court appearance on Monday amid high security.

A man accused in the brutal slayings of six men in a Surrey highrise in 2007 made his first court appearance on Monday amid high security.

Cody Haevischer, 24, is charged with six counts of first-degree murder. Three of his co-accused are expected to make appearances later this week.

Each person entering the Surrey courthouse on Monday had to pass through a metal detector. Extra sheriffs were brought in to search people entering to watch the proceedings.

Haevischer is accused of killing six men on the 15th floor of Balmoral Towers in October 2007.

Crown prosecutor Wendy Dawson told the court she intends to proceed by direct indictment. Haevischer is scheduled to make his next court appearance in May.

Matthew James Johnson, 24, was also charged Friday with six counts of first-degree murder, but it is not clear whether a court appearance has been scheduled for him.

Johnson and Haevischer are charged with killing Ed Schellenberg, Cory Lal, Michael Lal, 26, Edward Narong, Ryan Bartolomeo, 19, and Christopher Mohan, 22.

Bacon expected in court on Tuesday

An alleged accomplice, James Bacon, 23, is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday to face one count of first-degree murder in the death of Lal.

On Thursday, Dennis Karbovanec — who pleaded guilty on Friday to three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Mohan, Bartolomeo and Lal, and one count of conspiracy in connection with the killings — will be sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court.

While the arrest and court appearances of the four alleged members of the Red Scorpions gang suggests progress is being made against the recent spate of gang violence in the Lower Mainland, experts say the violence is likely to continue.

"I anticipate that there'll be some more shooting," said Simon Fraser University criminology professor Robert Gordon.

Gangs make enormous profit supplying illicit weapons and drugs, and when police swoop down on key members of one organization, to others it seems like an opportunity, he said.

"I don't think that this is over by any means, and these [new shootings] will all be related to struggles within that industry to get more market share," Gordon said.

Montreal investigative journalist Julian Sher, who has written two books about the Hells Angels, says suspicions about snitches and informants could also raise the level of violence inside the gangs.

"Any police action sends out a message to the gangsters not only that they could be next but also they have to start looking over their shoulders [and asking] who could be the possible snitch in their own gangs," Sher said.

While three of the four men accused in the 2007 murders — dubbed the Surrey Six case — are facing charges of first-degree murder, questions are being raised over whether Karbovanec reached a deal with police that allowed him to plead guilty to three counts of the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Investigators have refused to confirm whether such a deal had been struck.

There is another unanswered question about the charges.

All four men are facing one count apiece of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Lal, but there is also a fifth accused — referred to only as "Person X" and whose identity has not been released by police — who faces the same charge.