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Six people were killed on Oct. 19, 2007, in a 15th floor apartment unit in Surrey, B.C. Red Scorpions gang leader Michael Le was sentenced for his role in the slayings Tuesday. (CBC)

Michael Le, the man who founded the Red Scorpions gang and was one of its leaders when six people — including two innocent bystanders — were shot to death in a Surrey, B.C., apartment in 2007, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison less time served.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen handed down the sentence Tuesday afternoon.

Le was in court for the sentencing hearing, which also included emotional victim impact statements from two family members and an apology from Le himself.

The 28-year-old Le had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the killings last month, after the Crown decided not to proceed with a first-degree murder charge.

With credit for time already served, Le, who has been in custody since June 2009, would have three years, one month left on his sentence.

The court heard an agreed statement of facts that said the 2007 killing began as an execution of a rival drug trafficker named Corey Lal. Another five victims — including 55-year-old fireplace repairman Ed Schellenberg and 22-year-old building resident Chris Mohan — were also killed to eliminate potential witnesses.

Le had been on trial since late September along with Matthew Johnston and Cody Haevischer, who are each charged with conspiracy and six counts of first-degree murder. The case against Johnston and Haevischer is expected to continue. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Two other men charged in the case, Jamie Kyle Bacon and Sophon Sek, will be tried separately at a later date.

Four of the slaying victims – Ryan Bartolomeo,19, brothers Michael Lal, 26, and Cory Lal, 21, and Edward Narong, 22 – were described by police as having criminal lifestyles.

Eileen Mohan, in her victim impact statement, told the court she was at work on the day of the murders, leaving her son Chris at home, where she believed he would be safe. The Mohans' condo was across the hall from the unit where the murders took place.

Mohan addressed Le directly, telling him that he stole her son's life.

"Mr. Le, you have to realize that by pleading guilty to your crimes, it does not take away the fact that it is too late to bring the day Oct. 19, 2007, back," she said through tears. "Nor does it heal my soul of losing my only son to your crimes."

With files from The Canadian Press