A drug dealer who refused to pay $100,000 to the Red Scorpions for trafficking on the gang’s turf was the catalyst for why six people were executed in a Surrey high rise in 2007, the opening of trial for the Surrey Six slayings heard.
In B.C. Supreme Court, Crown prosecutor Mark Levitz said the three shooters in Balmoral Towers suite 1505 were there for one reason — to kill Cory Lal. The rival drug dealer had earlier refused to pay the gang and was shot to send “a message to the drug world that they were not to be defied.”
The Crown alleged all five additional deaths were to “ensure there would be no witnesses” to the shooting.
The three accused — Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Quang ‘Michael’ Le — pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence Monday morning.
“The accused … killed Edward Schellenberg, Christopher Mohan, Michael Lal, Edward Narong and Ryan Bartolomeo to ensure there would be no witnesses,” Levitz said.
“There was obviously planning and deliberation before the fatal shots.”
On Oct. 19, 2007, emergency responders came upon the bodies of six men, all but one lying face down with evidence of bullets fired into the back of their heads, the court heard.
Two emptied handguns were nearby.
The victims’ cell phones were also missing, evidently removed by the accused shooters, Haevischer, Johnston and a third person whose identity is protected by the court.
The deaths, the Crown alleged, was an agreement between two factions of the Red Scorpions gang — one Caucasian, one Asian — to kill Lal.
Le was the Asian leader and had met with Haevischer and Johnston earlier on the day of the murders, the Crown said.
Jamie Bacon, in custody pending his own trial in the deaths, was the alleged leader of the gang’s Caucasian faction.
Lal was with four others that night when he was shot. One was his brother, Michael Lal. Two others, Narong and Bartolomeo, were Lal associates, according to police.
The fifth victim was an innocent repairman, Schellenberg, who happened to be in the top-floor suite during the shooting. The sixth man, Mohan, lived across the hall and had no connection to Lal’s suite.
His mother, Eileen Mohan, said outside court she could barely look at the accused from the gallery.
“I’m going to let the judge deal with them. I’m here to represent Christopher, and honestly, I felt they were non-existent at the moment,” she said.
“We cannot let elements of criminals walk in front of our homes and steal our children and our loved ones away. The courts have a responsibility in sending a strong message so the public can have confidence in them.”