British Columbia

Gangster Jamie Bacon to plead guilty to role in Surrey Six murders

Red Scorpion gangster Jamie Bacon is set to plead guilty this week to having a hand in the Surrey Six murders, more than 12 years after the deadliest gang shooting in B.C. history, CBC News has confirmed.

Bacon is set to admit Thursday to conspiring to commit murder before deadliest gang shooting in B.C. history

Jamie Bacon is set to plead guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit the murder of Corey Lal, one of six people killed on Oct. 19, 2007, at the Balmoral Tower apartment building in Surrey, B.C. (CBC News)

Red Scorpion gangster Jamie Bacon is set to plead guilty this week to having a hand in the Surrey Six murders, more than 12 years after the deadliest gang shooting in B.C. history, CBC News has confirmed.

Bacon is set to plead guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit the murder of Corey Lal, one of six people killed at a highrise in Surrey, B.C. in 2007. He is also expected to plead guilty to counselling someone to shoot an associate in a different incident in 2008. 

Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers representing Bacon in both cases appeared in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to inform Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes they had agreed on a plea deal. The agreement, first reported by The Vancouver Sun, was confirmed to CBC early Tuesday by one of Bacon's lawyers.

"I can't disclose anything my client has told me or is feeling, but … obviously he's prepared to bring these matters to a resolution and we're here to assist him in doing that," lawyer Kevin Westell told CBC.

A first-degree murder charge against Bacon in relation to the Surrey Six killings is not part of the plea deal announced Monday. Westell said he couldn't comment further on the future of those proceedings, saying the case will "play out in court."

Bacon was one of several people charged after six people were gunned down at the Balmoral Tower on Oct. 19, 2007. The murder targeted a rival drug dealer said to have been selling on Red Scorpions turf.

Four of the men killed were involved in the drug trade, but two bystanders caught up in the shooting were also killed: Ed Schellenberg, 55, a gas-fitter who'd been repairing a fireplace in a unit, and Christopher Mohan, 22, who was returning home after playing basketball.

"I literally can't speak the words out of my mouth," Eileen Mohan, Christopher's mother, said Tuesday after waking up to learn of the plea deal through a Google alert.

"I'm just kind of stunned ... I don't think we should be negotiating with a person like Mr. Bacon. He should be shown the letter and the spirit of the law, rather than having a sweetheart deal he can make and be free in a couple of years. That is my greatest, greatest nightmare — that he could be walking on the streets in a couple of years," she continued.

"I was hoping to see Mr. Bacon at least get a first-degree murder charge. Because of Mr. Bacon, my son was killed."

Eileen Mohan pictured speaking to the media after the sentencing of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston in 2014. Mohan's 22-year-old son, Christopher, was killed along with five other people at a Surrey, B.C., highrise in 2007. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The conspiracy to commit murder charge against Bacon relates only to the death of Lal.

Mohan said the plea reminded her of the case against Michael Le, the man who founded the Red Scorpions gang and stood as one of its leaders at the time of the killings. Le pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in 2013 and has served out his prison sentence.

"I couldn't accept that and I feel the same this time," Mohan said of Le's deal.

An RCMP cruiser blocks the road leading to the apartment building in Surrey, B.C. on Oct. 20, 2007, at the beginning of the investigation into the Surrey Six killings. (Richard Lam/Canadian Press)

Dianne Watts, who was mayor of Surrey at the time of the shooting, described the plea deal as "a double-edged sword."

"The two families ... this has been dragging on for so long. But, in the same context, I've kept in contact with Eileen [Mohan] over the years and I know she wanted to talk about Chris and do a victim impact statement, and she's not going to have that opportunity. That's unfortunate," Watts said Tuesday.

"It rips people apart when you have that kind of violence in a community ... and it knows no boundaries."

Appeal court sent case back for trial

A B.C. Supreme Court judge decided in 2017 to stay the proceedings in the case against Bacon, but at the time much of the evidence and reasons for the decision were sealed by the court. Crown prosecutors appealed the ruling.

In May, the B.C. Appeal Court said it was allowing the Crown's appeal and sending the case back for trial.

Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston, both alleged drug gang associates of Bacon, were sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for their roles in the murders. They were found guilty of six counts each of first-degree murder.

Both men have filed appeals.

Sophon Sek, a man who helped the killers get into the building and pleaded guilty to break and enter, was sentenced to a one-year prison term in 2015.

With files from Yvette Brend, Jason Proctor and CBC's The Early Edition

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