Vernon and North Okanagan News
A B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver has ended 19 months of evidence and 11 full days of deliberations by agreeing with the Crown that five Vernon-area men are guilty of three drug-related slayings.
Peter Manolakos, Dale Sipes, Leslie Podolski, Sheldon O'Donnell and Douglas Brownell have been convicted for their roles in killing three men who had crossed the violent drug gang, known as the Greeks, in 2004 and 2005.
Manolakos, identified by the Crown as the leader of the gang, has been convicted of one count of first degree murder and one of manslaughter, while Sipes is guilty of two counts of first degree murder, Podolski of a single first degree killing, and O'Donnell will be sentenced on one first degree count and two of second degree.
Brownell, who was identified during the trial has having a drug-trafficking relationship with the Greeks but was not a member of the gang, has been convicted of two counts of manslaughter.
The trial into the North Okanagan-area murders of David Marniuk, Ronald Thom and Thomas Bryce began in May 2011 and involved 25 lawyers and more than 100 Crown witnesses before the jury began deliberations on Nov. 14.
A first degree murder conviction carries an automatic term of 25 years in prison before parole eligibility, so only Brownell's penalty has not yet been determined, but all five men are expected to return to court in Vancouver on Thursday to hear their sentences pronounced.
In November, 2007, Andre Robert George Raymond was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to one count of first degree murder in the death of Ron Thom and three counts of manslaughter in the deaths of David Marniuk, Thomas Bryce and Robert Hewison.
Raymond was also a member of the Greeks.
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