The trial of UN gang member Cory Vallee resumed in B.C. Supreme Court in a high-security Vancouver courtroom Monday morning (Feb. 6) with Crown prosecutor David Jardine laying out his case to Justice Janice Dillon.
Jardine said the evidence includes “a substantial amount of electronic material,” including video and wiretaps and three thick volumes of admissions agreed to by the Crown and the defence.
The start of the prosecution case comes after a lengthy voir dire, or trial within a trial, to determine what evidence would be admissible.
Vallee, who sometimes goes by “Frankie,” “Frank,” “Panther” or “Specs,” was charged with first degree murder in the death of rival gang member Kevin LeClair, a Red Scorpion and associate of the Bacon brothers, who was gunned down in a busy Langley shopping centre parking lot in February, 2009.
“Eight years ago today,” Jardine noted.
“He (LeClair) became a higher risk for the UN gang because he knew them and knew what they looked like,” Jardine said.
He said the evidence will show that members of the UN gang were hunting for LeClair when they spotted his truck shortly before 3 p.m. in the afternoon and followed it to a restaurant in the Thunderbird Mall in Walnut Grove.
When LeClair went inside, Vallee and another UN gang member went to get weapons and returned in a van with a 9mm handgun and an AR-15 rifle and waited for LeClair to leave the restaurant.
When LeClair came outside after an hour, Vallee and the gang member got out of the van and started firing at LeClair in the parking lot of the shopping centre at 88 Avenue, east of 200 Street.
LeClair’s truck was “riddled with bullets”, Jardine said.
Witnesses have told the Times as many as 40 shots were heard.
One said she watched from her apartment balcony as a dark grey pickup was sprayed with bullets from what appeared to be an automatic weapon, fired from another vehicle
Another witness was at work when she heard a noise that sounded like fireworks.
She looked up to see a man in a blue minivan firing shots at the pickup, before speeding away, with two other vehicles following.
One person reported seeing guns thrown onto the pavement as the vehicles sped off.
However, none of the witnesses were able to identify the shooters in a photo lineup, Jardine said.
LeClair, an Abbotsford resident, died in hospital two days after he was shot.
Shooting scene. Times File Photo.
Vallee and UN gang leader Conor D’Monte were charged with LeClair’s murder in 2011, while both were on the run from police.
In August, 2014, police in Mexico arrested Vallee in the western state of Jalisco and deported him to Canada.
D’Monte is still at large.
Vallee is also charged with conspiracy to kill the Bacons.
The trial heard details of the 2008 murder of Jonathan Barber of Langley, an innocent victim of the conspiracy.
Jardine said Barber (pictured below) and his girlfriend met Jonathan Bacon at a restaurant and picked up his black Porsche Cayenne Turbo to install a stereo.
Members of the UN gang, who were “on the hunt” for the Bacon brothers, happened to use the washroom in the same restaurant and saw “a person that they thought was a Bacon brother talking near the Porsche,” Jardine said.
When the Porsche left, they followed and opened fire with two AK-47 rifles.
Barber’s girlfriend, who was following the Porsche in a second vehicle, said the attack took place two minutes after they left the parking lot.
She heard a bang and saw a hole in the window of her vehicle, then realized she’d been hit in the arm.
She saw the attacking vehicle speed past and begin shooting at the Porsche.
Police have described Barber as “a complete innocent, just doing his job,” who had no idea he was working on a vehicle that was linked to gang activity.
Jardine said the rivalry between the UN gang and the Bacons and the Red Scorpions exploded into open war because of the May 8, 2008 murder of a “very popular” UN gang member, Duane Meyer, in Mission, which “brought the conflict between the two groups to a head.”
After spending some time on a review of forensic evidence, the Crown expected to call the first witnesses on Wednesday.
Jardine said they will be “persons present” at the scene of the LeClair shooting.
The identity of four of the witnesses at the Vallee trial is protected under a court-ordered ban against publishing their names.
– with files from Monique Tamminga