Man sentenced to less than a year for role in B.C. 'Surrey Six' gang murders
VANCOUVER — A man who arranged a fateful meeting that ended with the execution-style shootings of six men in a Surrey, B.C., highrise will serve less than a year for his role.
Sophon Sek pleaded guilty Friday in B.C. Supreme Court to break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence for his part in the so-called Surrey Six slayings.
Sek had been facing a manslaughter charge, but it was stayed — to the dismay of Eileen Mohan, the mother of 22-year-old victim Christopher Mohan.
"He just got away with murder," she said outside court, visibly shaken. "He cut himself a sweetheart deal, and that's what I've got for Christmas."
Sek was sentenced to one year minus 80 days of time served. He'll serve the time consecutively with the six years he's already serving for drug and firearms charges.
Court heard he was paid $25,000 to help members of the Red Scorpions gang enter victim Corey Lal's apartment in October 2007, but he believed they merely wanted to rob him.
He was with Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and a third man when they knocked on the rival drug dealer's door, though Sek did not enter the suite.
Sek's lawyer Terry La Liberte said he was "shocked" when he learned of the deaths of Lal and five other men, including bystanders Mohan and Ed Schellenberg.
"He had no knowledge that this was going to happen. He had no knowledge that there were going to be innocent people there," La Liberte said outside court.
Haevischer and Johnston were convicted on six counts of first-degree murder but are appealing the verdicts. Jamie Bacon, the former head of the Red Scorpions, is expected to face trial in the killings in October 2016.
Sek was arrested two days after winning $364,000 in the B.C. Poker Championships in 2009.
He may be facing deportation due to legislation from the former Conservative government that allows non-citizens sentenced to more than six months in prison to be deported.
Sek, a father of three daughters, is a landed immigrant from Cambodia who arrived in Canada at age 4 and never sought citizenship. He's received documents threatening his deportation but has hired an immigration lawyer, La Liberte said.
Crown counsel Catherine Murray read several emotional victim-impact statements, including from the wife of Schellenberg, a repairman who was fixing Lal's fireplace when the killers entered the apartment.
"He was my best friend," Lois Schellenberg said in the statement. "There are days that almost seem too much to bear on my own."
Mohan looked at Sek directly as she read her victim-impact statement, recalling tearfully how she was supposed to be at home with her son that day but got called into work.
Her son was on his way out of their suite when he crossed paths with the gang members who were entering the apartment across the hall.
"Mr. Sek, had you not participated in this crime, my son would have never been delivered to me in a casket," she said, her voice breaking.
"And no one would have to ask a mother, 'Where was she when her son was being executed?' This very question haunts me every day."
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press