by Sheila Reynolds, Black Press
A star witness and convicted killer testifying against his former associates at the Surrey Six murder trial this week said one of the two men currently being tried told all him about the mass slaughter shortly after it happened.
The witness, who can only be identified as Person Y due to a publication ban, told Justice Catherine Wedge that accused murderer Matt Johnston got into his vehicle and started talking after the Oct. 19, 2007 incident.
“He was happy … proud you could say,” Y said of Johnston’s demeanor.
“He said there was lots of bodies. It was like one after the other…that he had to pull someone in,” Person Y told the court.
He said Johnston held up six fingers to indicate the number of bodies.
Y was concerned, he said, because they were in a car and police could be listening.
Y, who is currently serving two life sentences for a pair of unrelated murders, began his testimony Monday at the trial of Johnston and Cody Haevischer, who are currently on trial in connection with the mass murder of six men in a Surrey apartment.
They have both pleaded not guilty to six counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of innoccent bystanders Ed Schellenberg of Abbotsford and Christopher Mohan of Surrey, as well as Eddie Narong, Ryan Bartolomeo, and brothers Corey and Michael Lal, who had links to the drug trade.
On Tuesday morning, Y testified his friend and fellow Red Scorpion gang member Jamie Bacon had a dispute with Corey Lal, a Surrey drug dealer. Y said a meeting was arranged with Lal where Bacon planned to beat him up and “tax” him.
Y said Lal was “a small little guy” and was lured to a Surrey McDonald’s, where Bacon berated him and told him he was to pay a $100,000 fine by that night. During the confrontation, Y said he confiscated Lal’s gun – a “baby” 9mm Glock with a unique clip for easier concealment. Lal appeared petrified, Y said.
The consequences Lal would face if he didn’t paying the sum were clear, person Y testified.
“He was going to be stuffed in a trunk … disappeared.”
Bacon did not hear from Lal.
“At that point, Jamie wanted to put the hurt on him and finish him off, kill him,” said Y.
Y and Bacon agreed Y would take care of Lal himself.
“He had to be killed. If we don’t now go do something to him it’s going to make the whole group look weak,” Y explained to the court.
But Y said the situation “morphed,” and the plan turned into more of a home invasion that would involve robbery and murder.
Y told Bacon he no longer wanted to be involved as it had grown more complicated and “too many things could go wrong.”
Y said Bacon said “no problem” and that he’d get Johnston and another gang member, who can only be identified as X, to do it. (X pleaded guilty in the case several years ago and is shielded by a publication ban.)
Y said the pressure on X was extreme because he had failed in two earlier hits.
“He was like a beaten animal. That’s the kind of control Jamie had over him,” Y said, adding Johnston’s job was to make sure X “did the act.”
Y said he had no faith in X or Johnston and didn’t believe the murder would happen.
When they did and Johnston sat in his car telling him about it, he was still uncertain, he said.
“I don’t know if I was even ready to believe him.”
Person Y’s testimony continues Tuesday afternoon and he’s expected to remain on the stand all week.