Calgary

Lukas Strasser-Hird murder trial verdicts delivered in Calgary nightclub stabbing

After six weeks of evidence, the verdicts have been handed down for four young men accused of killing Lukas Strasser-Hird in a swarming and stabbing outside a Calgary nightclub.

2 guilty of murder, 1 guilty of manslaughter, 1 acquitted and 1 still at large

Lukas Strasser-Hird died on Nov. 23, 2013, after he was assaulted outside a downtown bar. (Facebook)

After six weeks of evidence, the verdicts have been handed down for four young men accused of killing Lukas Strasser-Hird in a swarming and stabbing outside a Calgary nightclub in 2013.

Franz Cabrera and Assmar Shlah have been found guilty of second-degree murder — convictions that come with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years. 

Joch Pouk was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, while Jordan Liao was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

Strasser-Hird died after being attacked in an alley at Second Street and 10th Avenue S.W. in November 2013.

It's believed he was involved in two altercations at a Calgary nightclub before his death. After the first incident, he was escorted out by bouncers, but there was another group of people waiting to confront him in the back alley.

Dale Hird says he's 'pretty satisfied' with the verdicts. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

"We're pretty satisfied," said the victim's father Dale Hird. "Justice has been served for Lukas."

He said he is glad the jury was able to sort through the "mountain of lies" that surfaced in the trial, and he hopes those convicted are not eligible for parole for 18 years.

"That's how old Lukas was when they took his life," said Hird.

A sentencing date will be set in August.

Emotional day

The only emotion from the prisoners' box came from Shlah, who buried his face in his hands and appeared to be crying.

Shlah's lawyer, Balfour Der, said he doesn't have words to express his disappointment with the verdict.

"I have no clue how these people could actually come to this verdict," he said. "He's devastated. The boy's sitting there crying, saying he never touched the guy."

Jurors were allowed to make recommendations on parole ineligibility for Shlah and Cabrera. They either declined or recommended the minimum of 10 years. 

Lawyers Balfour Der and Gavin Wolch represented Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera respectively. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

"The verdict that we heard came as the product of 12 people taking their duties very seriously," said Cabrera's lawyer Gavin Wolch.

"I'm sure he was hoping for something else, but obviously we respect the decision."

Lawyers Rame Katrib and David Chow represented Joch Pouk who was acquitted of second-degree murder, but found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

"It's not so important how I'm feeling," said Katrib referring to the families of both the victim and accused.

"There's a lot of wounds on both sides."

Marlo MacGregor, Ken McCaffrey and Samina Dhalla prosecuted the Lukas Strasser-Hird murder trial that lasted just over six weeks (Meghan Grant/CBC)

The Crown called more than 80 witnesses over the six week trial and says despite Liao's acquittal they're pleased with the outcome.

"Our weakest case, frankly, was against him so we are absolutely satisfied with this result," said prosecutor Ken McCaffrey. "A trial this long is exhausting, but it's worth it."

Before the verdicts were handed down, Justice Glen Poelman told the crowded courtroom that it was a highly emotional case and the delivery of the verdicts would be a difficult moment, regardless of the outcome.

A fifth man, Nathan Gervais, was also charged with first-degree murder, but disappeared weeks before the trial began while on bail. He remains at large.

Nathan Paul Gervais, 21 — one of five people charged with murder in the 2013 stabbing death behind a Calgary nightclub — has been wanted by police since April. (Calgary Police Service)

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