Crown seeks life in B.C. skinhead sentencing hearing

Crown prosecutors in British Columbia have asked the court to impose a life sentence on five men, on trial for the beating death of Sikh caretaker Nirmal Singh Gill.

Self-proclaimed white supremacist Nathan LeBlanc, along with the four other accused, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the brutal beating.

At the sentencing hearing Monday, the Crown called witnesses and introduced evidence, trying to prove the murder was motivated by hate.

A letter written by LeBlanc to John William King, a man convicted in Texas of one of the goriest racial killings in the state's history, was presented as evidence to the court.

Writing from prison in B.C., LeBlanc wrote: "Dear John ... you should have been given a medal ... [the victim] should have been left by the side of the road as an example to those who would cause the destruction of our glorious white nation."

Nirmal Singh Gill was stomped to death in the parking lot of the Sikh temple in Surrey in January 1998.

Other evidence presented by the Crown includes a series of police wiretaps and surveillance videos. The tapes show the five accused bragging and laughing about the killing, and pouring out their hatred of various minority groups.

There is also mention of what they call "Plan B" -- the mass murder of Sikh school children.

The Sikh community has responded to these revelations with anger and fear.

"This is a cold blooded murder that affects our community. It affects our relationship with the mainstream community," says Nirmal Nanner.

Temple president Balwant Singh Gill says some of the news is frightening. "They wanted to kill hundreds and hundreds of school kids, that's very disturbing, upsetting news and scary," he says.

The extraordinary evidence in the case suggests a wide network of Canadian skinheads hoping to incite what they call "racial holy war."

Next week though, defence counsel will be in court arguing that this evidence should not be released to the public.