Jonathan Bacon, Larry Amero and James Riach were “hunted” before being gunned down in broad daylight in a busy tourist area of downtown Kelowna.
In his opening statement Monday, Crown counsel David Ruse said he intends to offer evidence that the fatal Aug. 14, 2011 shooting was the result of Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones executing an order made by rival gangster Sukh Dhak, whose brother Gurmit had been killed in 2010.
Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones are charged with the first-degree murder of Bacon, formerly of Abbotsford, and of the attempted murder of Riach, Amero, Leah Hadden-Watts and Lindsay Black. They are also charged with multiple firearm offences. In court on Monday, they pleaded not guilty to all charges.
They have been in custody since their 2013 arrest.
Multiple witnesses are expected to testify in support of the theory that Sukh Dhak – the lead member of the gang the Dhak Group who himself was gunned down in 2012 – believed that Amero, a Hells Angel; Riach, an associate of the Independent Soldiers; and “their crew,” which included Bacon, a Red Scorpion, had killed his brother and he was looking for revenge.
“Dhak said he wanted to target those people and he wanted them killed,” Ruse said.
“He instructed (associates) to hunt for those targets … Hunting included identifying locations frequented by the targets, identifying vehicles driven by the targets and obtaining licence plates associated to those vehicles.”
If one of Dhak’s group saw the “targets,” they were under orders to follow them and report the sighting.
That, said Ruse, was how the events of Aug. 14, 2011 unfolded.
He said Bacon, Amero and Riach travelled with Lindsay Black and Leah Hadden-Watts to Kelowna on Aug. 12, 2011.
They were staying at the Delta Grand Hotel, where Amero apparently had a private suite secured. His boat, which was labelled “steroids & silicone,” was parked outside the hotel in the lagoon and at some point he hosted a party.
On Saturday the group went out for dinner and were ultimately spotted at Gotchas nightclub by those reporting to Dhak. They partied until around 1 a.m. on Aug. 14, then returned to the hotel.
Ruse said that later that same morning Dhak associate Manny Hairan – who is also now dead – met with Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones at a location on Cawston Avenue to plan their attack.
Bacon died from his gunshot wounds; Hadden-Watts was shot in the neck and rendered a paraplegic; Amero was shot in the face, wrist and chest; and Black was shot through both upper legs.
Riach escaped injury.