Hells Angels sympathizer Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau faces murder charges
Man who escaped St-Jérôme detention centre via helicopter charged with 2 counts of 1st-degree murder
A man who engineered a daring helicopter escape from a St-Jérôme, Que., jail was charged on Thursday with two unrelated counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Hells Angels sympathizer Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 38, is accused of participating in a series of crimes in the province’s Laurentians region in the fall of 2012 relating to a drug turf war. He pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
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Ryan Wolfon, an alleged accomplice of Hudon-Barbeau, has also been charged in connection to the alleged crimes.
The Crown asked to skip the preliminary hearing and go straight trial. Hudon-Barbeau's next court appearance is scheduled for June 5.
Hudon-Barbeau made headlines in March 2013 after he and Danny Provençal escaped from a Saint-Jérôme detention centre after two accomplices hijacked a helicopter and forced its pilot to fly to the jail. Hudon-Barbeau and Provençal climbed up a rope into the waiting chopper.
He was nabbed by police a few hours later.
He was serving time at the provincial jail for gun possession at the time of his escape.
Arrested in SharQc dragnet
Hudon-Barbeau had previously been arrested under the SharQc anti-biker gang operation in 2009, but had his case dropped two years later when a Quebec judge granted a stay in proceedings for 31 of the 155 people swept up in SharQc.
At the time, Quebec Superior Court Judge James Brunton told a Montreal courtroom that anticipated delays would have prevented the men from having fair trials.
In 2010, Hudon-Barbeau was convicted of two counts of attempted murder in relation to a gun fight at a downtown Montreal bar four years prior. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Some witnesses at his trial were allegedly beaten and bribed. The primary eyewitness recanted his testimony after the trial.
The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and acquitted him.