$9M to hunt killers

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

The police investigation into the 2011 shooting outside Kelowna's Delta Grand cost more than $9 million, and that figure doesn't include the cost of the prosecution.

On Wednesday, Sgt. Brenda Winpenny with The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC said the investigation was “one of the largest and most complex in B.C.'s history.”

“Over the past six and a half years, hundreds of dedicated and committed officers and support staff from numerous agencies have been involved, contributing the countless hours needed for a successful prosecution,” she said.

Just under a year since the trial began, and almost seven years since the shooting took place, Jason McBride, Jujhar Khun-Khun and Michael Jones were sentenced.

Justice Allan Betton accepted the Crown and defence's joint sentencing submission Wednesday.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy to murder Bacon over a two-and-a-half month period, Khun-Khun and Jones will serve another 10 years of their 18-year sentence, due to credit for presentence custody.They'll be eligible for parole in five years.

Jason McBride, who pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Bacon and attempted murder, has another 13 years behind bars until he's eligible for parole. All murder charges carry an automatic life sentence.

In his sentencing, Justice Betton stressed the danger the midday shooting posed to innocent bystanders.

“One 9-mm bullet went through the front window of the Kelowna Art Gallery located across the street. Two bullets ... went through the exterior wall of the hotel complex and into the interior space of a hair salon,” Justice Betton said.

“That no one else was injured or killed, but for it being true, would seem unbelievable.”

Betton also spoke to the lengthy delays the “complicated” trial experienced.

“Much can be said about whether that time has been well spent, whether it has been unreasonable, and the public may have its own views in that regard,” Justice Betton said.

“Considerable time has been consumed, but it has not been because of frivolous or unnecessary issues being raised.”

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle said the sentencing “sends a clear message to those that are involved in the criminal lifestyle that their behaviour and actions will not be tolerated.”

ORIGINAL: 10:30 a.m.

Three men involved in the midday 2011 killing of Jonathan Bacon have at least another 10 years to serve after pleading guilty Tuesday.

After striking a deal with the Crown earlier in April, Jason McBride pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder, while Michael Jones and Jujhar Khun-Khun pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

On Wednesday, Justice Allan Betton accepted the Crown and defence's joint submission on sentencing, and handed down the automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 18 years for McBride, along with 15 years for attempted murder. Jones and Khun-Khun received 18-year sentences.

All three were originally charged with first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, along with several firearms charges, but the Crown laid the new charges on April 19 after “extensive discussions between the Crown and defence and considerable reflection by the Crown on the strengths and weaknesses of the case.”

The Crown cited the trial's extensive delays and their reliance on the former associates of the accused as key witnesses, which the Crown referred to as “unsavoury witnesses,” as reasons for striking the deal.

While a murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, with his five years of credit for presentence custody, McBride will be eligible for parole in 13 years.

Jones and Khun-Khun have about 10 years left to serve, after their presentence custody is factored in, which is given credit at 1.5 days for each actual day. 

The Crown successfully applied to keep Jones and Khun-Khun ineligible for full parole until halfway through their remaining sentence rather than the standard one-third. This means that they will be eligible for parole in five years. 

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