Two Greek gang members get life

A judge has pronounced mandatory life sentences for what he calls the "brutal and sadistic" torture deaths of two men by two enforcers for the Greeks drug gang, based in the Vernon, area.

Dale Sipes and Leslie Podolski were convicted on Monday in the first-degree murders of David Marniuk in July 2004 and Ronald Thom in May 2005.

Court heard Marniuk was a low-level drug dealer who used drugs he didn't pay for, and so was duct-taped to a chair and assaulted with a hammer and blow torch before the killers cremated his body as punishment.

Thom was mistakenly suspected of being a police informant, so the men lured him into a street and shot him dead in cold-blood.

BC Supreme Court Judge Bill Smart says Thom's death was a challenge to police, which they took up with an expansive investigation that effectively shut down the Greeks' operations.

Sipes' defense lawyer says he will appeal his client's convictions, while three other men convicted in the two slayings and that of a third man had their sentencing adjourned to a later date.

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