Gang slaying trial begins

Three men accused of killing Red Scorpion gang leader Jonathan Bacon say they're not guilty.

Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones pleaded not guilty to eight charges, Monday, including the first-degree murder of Bacon, in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.

The trio are on trial for the August 2011 shooting that left Bacon dead, fellow gangsters Larry Amero and James Riach injured, and their associate Leah Hadden-Watts paralyzed.

In his opening arguments, Crown prosecutor Dave Ruse said his team will attempt to prove former gang leader Sukh Dhak ordered Bacon, Amero and Riach killed as “revenge” for his brother’s murder.

On orders from Dhak, the accused “hunted” Bacon and the others for months before they finally opened fire on them outside The Grand hotel.

Key evidence will include DNA linked to the accused found on several discarded hoodies, and a stain on one that experts will testify matches blood from one of the victims. Two key witnesses who were part of the “hunt” for Bacon, Amero and Riach will also testify.

Although the trial began in earnest today, still hanging over the proceedings is a defence application to drop the charges because the process has taken too long.

Justice Allan Betton said he is still considering the application, and will likely arrive at a decision by next Monday. In the meantime, the trial will proceed as scheduled.

After opening arguments, Crown prosecutors began questioning their first witness, Const. Jennifer Hunter, who was the first officer to respond to the shooting.

Hunter told the court she responded to reports of shots fired at the Lake City Casino in the middle of the afternoon, and arrived to a scene of absolute chaos.

A hoard of people screamed at her that someone had been shot, as others performed CPR on a wounded man.

“There were people everywhere; people running, people screaming,” she said. “It was just chaos. Pandemonium.”

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