Edmonton

Third accused in Mac's store killings convicted of two counts of first-degree murder

Colton James Steinhauer was convicted Friday of two counts of first-degree murder for his role in the December 2015 killings of two Mac's convenience store clerks.

Colton James Steinhauer, 30, now awaits a sentencing hearing in September

Karanpal Bhangu, 35, and Ricky Cenabre, 41, were shot and killed in a pair of Mac's store robberies on Dec. 18, 2015.

Colton James Steinhauer was convicted Friday of two counts of first-degree murder for his role in the December 2015 killings of two Mac's convenience store clerks.

The Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench jury deliberated for about seven hours over two days before reaching its decision.

Seated in the prisoner's box, Steinhauer showed no emotion when the verdicts were read aloud. 

Each first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Steinhauer, 30, now awaits a sentencing hearing in September, where the judge will decide whether his two sentences will be served concurrently or consecutively. 

Asked for their recommendations, six jurors said the sentences should be served consecutively, meaning Steinhauer would have to wait 50 years before he can apply for parole. Three jurors recommended concurrent sentences, while three offered no opinion.

No members of the victims' families were in court Friday.

At the beginning of the trial on May 3, Steinhauer pleaded not guilty to two first-degree murder charges, though he admitted he played a role in the killings.

Karanpal Bhangu and Ricky Cenabre were shot to death during a robbery spree in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2015. The clerks were working overnight shifts alone at two south-side Edmonton Mac's stores.

Steinhauer admitted he carried a machete into the first Mac's store and helped co-accused Laylin Delorme and a teenager rob and beat Bhangu. But the jury was told that Delorme was the one who shot Bhangu in the abdomen.

During the second robbery that same night, Steinhauer shot Cenabre in the back.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ken G. Nielsen has ordered a pre-sentence Gladue report, which court was told will take about two months.

Police used surveillance video

In the hours after the victims' bodies were found, police used surveillance video from one of the Mac's stores to obtain a still photograph of one suspect.

That photograph was shared with police on the street, according to a lengthy agreed statement of facts entered on the first day of the trial.

A constable spotted a black Honda Element parked in the Callingwood area, near another Mac's store. He noticed the passenger in the vehicle was wearing a jacket similar to the one in the photograph.

Police tried to stop the Honda, but it sped away. After a high-speed chase, the Honda crashed on Whitemud Drive under the Terwillegar overpass.

Steinhauer, Delorme and a teenage male were arrested and taken into custody.

Delorme, 27, was convicted last year by a jury of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

He is now appealing his conviction, while the Crown is seeking leave to appeal the sentence handed down by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Graesser.

A relative of Delorme's who was 13 years old at the time of the shootings was convicted on two counts of manslaughter. He has completed his sentence and is no longer in custody.

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