Four members of the UN gang and one associate have been sentenced to 11 to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to murder the three Bacon brothers and other Red Scorpions gang members in 2008 and 2009.
The five men — Barzan Tilli-Choli, Yong Sung John Lee, Dilun Heng, Karwan Ahmet Saed and Ion Kroitoru — pleaded guilty earlier this week to conspiring to kill Jonathan, Jamie and Jarrod Bacon and their associates at the height of a gang war in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
The sentences handed down by the judge on Monday morning were based on a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers last Wednesday that called for:
- 14 years for Barzan Tilli-Choli
- 13 years for Ion (John WIlliam) Kroitoru
- 12 years for Dilun Heng
- 12 years for Karwan Ahmet Saed
- 11 years for Yong Sung John Lee
During the sentencing Justice Janice Dillion said the men showed ruthless disregard for life, not only of gang members, but the public, calling them "wicked, evil and low," "the bottom of society" and "villains deserving of the utmost rebuke."
Because they were arrested 4½ years ago — before federal laws changed — the judge gave them double credit for time served awaiting trial, meaning the actual sentences are about five, four, three, three and two years respectively.
Despite the double-time credit, the spokesman for the Crown prosecutor's office Neil MacKenzie said the sentences were significant.
"The sentences are at the upper end of the range for sentences for conspiracy to commit murder and were what crown was seeking in the case."
All except Tilli-Choli could also be eligible for statutory release after serving two-thirds of their sentence. Tilli-Choli could serve the full term because he has only permanent resident status in Canada and faces immediate deportation to Iraq at the end of his sentence.
Sentences 'unbelievably light'
Following their pleas last week, the Crown stayed charges of murder and attempted murder against the five in the fatal shooting of Jonathan Barber, a stereo installer with no connection to gangs or organized crime.
Barber was killed in May 2008 in what police called a case of mistaken identity, while reportedly driving a Porsche owned by Jamie Bacon along a street in Burnaby.
Outside the court today, Barber's father Michael told CBC News he found the sentences "unbelievably light" and "disturbing".
The Lower Mainland's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said it is still seeking at least two more suspects in the conspiracy plot. Cory (Frankie) Vallee and Conor Vincent D'Monte, alleged members of the UN gang, have both been wanted on Canada-wide warrants since being charged in January 2011.
Jonathan Bacon died two years ago after being shot in Kelowna. Jarrod is serving a 12-year sentence for conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
Jamie is serving time in a federal facility on a weapons conviction and is also awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the so-called "Surrey Six" slayings in October 2007, a separate case that involved the killing of six people in a Surrey high-rise, including two innocent bystanders.