British Columbia

Kembo guilty of 4 murders: B.C. jury

A Vancouver serial killer who murdered four people, including his wife and stepdaughter, for financial gain, was convicted Friday as a judge told him he was a "predator" who should never be allowed out of prison.
A B.C. Supreme judge told Charles Kembo she would put him away for more than 25 years if the law allowed. (CBC)

A Vancouver serial killer who murdered four people, including his wife and stepdaughter, for financial gain, was convicted Friday as a judge told him he was a "predator" who should never be allowed out of prison.

A  B.C. Supreme Court jury found Charles Kembo guilty of four counts of first-degree murder for a series of killings committed between 2002 and 2005.

Kembo, 41, was given an automatic sentence of life in prison with no parole for 25 years, although B.C. Supreme Court Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein told him she would have imposed a harsher sentence if she could.

Stromberg-Stein read a scathing assessment of the man, denouncing him as a "greedy, selfish and corrupt" criminal who preyed on the people who trusted him most.

"You are a predator. You preyed on innocent, vulnerable people, including those closest to you, exploiting those who made the mistake of trusting you … when you stood to benefit financially from their deaths," Stromberg-Stein told Kembo, who sat in the prisoner's box in a black fleece jacket and at times appeared to be grinning.

"You are a serial killer, a very dangerous man. The public deserves protection from you. You should never be permitted to walk the streets a free man."

The verdict was delivered at 6:15 p.m. PT in Vancouver after four days of deliberations that followed a nine-month trial.

The jury found Kembo, 41, guilty of killing his business partner, Arden Samuel, his stepdaughter, Rita Yeung, his girlfriend, Sui Yin Ma, and his wife, Margaret Kembo, whose body has never been found.

Outside court, prosecutor Hank Reiner said he'd never heard such harsh language from a judge concerning a convicted person.

"She said it very clearly what a vile human being he is," Reiner said. "I think it's pretty clear he's never going to get out, not with four counts of first-degree murder."

Kembo's lawyer said his client would appeal the verdict but did not divulge the grounds for the appeal.

Kembo testified in his own defence at his murder trial and denied killing anyone. ((CBC))

The Crown said Kembo committed the murders to profit from insurance policies or from fraudulent use of the victims' identities.

He admitted during the trial that he'd been a money launderer since 1998, claiming to make up to $30,000 a month hiding money in offshore accounts for criminals.

During the trial, Kembo testified he did not kill anyone.

Kembo arrived in Toronto from the African country of Malawi in 1989 and was granted refugee status after claiming he faced the possibility of persecution in his homeland.

With files from The Canadian Press

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