KELOWNA, B.C. – Three men accused in the brazen shooting death of gangster Jonathan Bacon have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in a Kelowna, B.C., court.
Jason McBride, Michael Jones and Jujhar Khun-Khun also pleaded not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to attempted murder charges and gun offences.
Crown prosecutor David Ruse said in his opening statement that the trio were carrying out a revenge killing when Bacon, a member of the Red Scorpion gang, was killed in a spray of bullets outside a Kelowna hotel in August 2011.
Three others were injured and one person escaped serious harm.
Ruse said another alleged gangster ordered the killings of two of Bacon’s associates in the same vehicle, who he blamed for the 2010 death of his brother.
Court also heard on Monday from Const. Jennifer Hunter with Kelowna RCMP, who was the first police officer to respond to the fatal shooting.
Hunter said she arrived to find “chaos” and “pandemonium,” with people running and screaming.
The officer testified that she called dispatch asking for emergency response and reporting four people had been shot.
Defence lawyers for McBride, Jones and Khun-Khun have applied for a stay of the proceedings based on long delays in getting the men to trial.
The application stems from a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that said Superior Court trials should be wrapped up in 30 months from when charges were laid.
The three men were arrested and charged in February 2013 and a trial originally scheduled to begin in April 2016 was delayed several times.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton said he expects to have a decision early next week on whether the charges should be tossed, but ordered the judge-alone trial to begin in the meantime.