Sentencing may run long in conspiracy case

Three Cranbrook men convicted over murder conspiracy may not be sentenced this week as a Kamloops hearing continues

  • Jul. 26, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Three Cranbrook men charged over a conspiracy to murder a local drug rival may not learn their sentence until next week.

Colin Correia, Lonnie Adams and Lorne Carry were found guilty in April of conspiracy to commit murder and a lesser charge, counselling an indictable offence not committed.

It wrapped up a three-month trial held in Kamloops. The jury took four days to reach their verdict.

During the trial, Crown prosecutors outlined how Adams was at the top of the hierarchy in a Cranbrook gang, and he supervised Correia and Carry.

A feud between their gang and a rival drug gang in Cranbrook escalated in October 2009 after a non-fatal shooting outside the Sam Steele Hotel in Cranbrook.

According to the Crown’s case against Adams, Correia and Carry, the group then began to plan to murder the head of the rival gang, Doug Mahon.

However, a man they contracted to carry out the murder, John Garry Shank, was arrested in Cranbrook in November 2009 for breaking parole conditions. While in custody, Shank agreed to become a police agent in the conspiracy case.

His testimony, along with transcripts of telephone calls and text messages, became key evidence in the case.

Adams, Correia and Carry were arrested in Cranbrook in November 2010.

The prominent trial was moved from Cranbrook to Kamloops because of its high profile in the area, and because it required extremely high security, the likes of which Cranbrook’s courthouse has never seen.

The trial began in February, and wrapped at the end of April when the jury returned guilty verdicts.

During the trial, it came out that the conspiracy was also related to a double murder in Mayook in May 2010, a case of mistaken identity in which Leanne MacFarlane and Jeffrey Taylor died. The pair had recently moved into a home where the previous tenant was Doug Mahon.

After the guilty verdict, a sentencing hearing for Adams, Correia and Carry began in Kamloops Supreme Court on Monday, July 22. It was scheduled to conclude on Friday, July 26, with the judge handing down sentences, but now that may not happen until next week.

Lonnie Adams has been found guilty of counselling an indictable offense not committed. Colin Correia is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, counselling an indictable offense not committed, and manufacturing or transferring a firearm. Lorne Carry is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, counselling an indictable offense not committed, manufacturing or transferring a firearm, and possession of a prohibited/restricted firearm with ammunition.

Carry is the only one of the three men to have been granted bail. Adams and Correia have been in custody since November 2010 awaiting trial.

According to Crown prosecutor Ann Katrine Saettler, lawyers at the sentencing hearing are still making submissions on what will be accepted as fact by Justice Dev Dley when he makes sentencing decisions.

“A jury just says guilty or not guilty,” Saettler told the Townsman.

That means that both prosecution and defense counsel need to argue what evidence Justice Dley bases his decisions on.

After those arguments are made, Justice Dley will make a statement of the facts. That is likely to happen on Friday, Saettler said.

Then lawyers will begin making arguments on what the sentence should be for each of the men.

Saettler said that the recent sentencing of five men in Vancouver over the plot to kill drug kingpins the Bacon brothers is of some importance in this Cranbrook case.

The five men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder earlier this month in a feud between the UN gang and rivals the Red Scorpions. Sentences ranged from 11 to 14 years in prison.

However, in that case the men pleaded guilty before trial. What’s more, prosecution and defense lawyers agreed on the facts of the case.

“The fact that it was both makes this case less interesting,” said Saettler. “It is a mitigating factor when someone enters a plea, saving a lengthy trial.”