A man with a criminal past who signed on to become a police agent is expected to be a key witness in a murder conspiracy trial in B.C. Supreme Court.
Crown prosecutor Ann Katrine Saettler outlined for a 14-person Kamloops jury Wednesday a conspiracy by rivals to kill Cranbrook drug dealer Douglas Mahon.
The planned killing of Mahon, for $10,000, was allegedly a bid to settle a score and control the drug trade in the Kootenay region of B.C.
Lonnie Adams, Lorne Carry and Colin Correia are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Carry is also charged with possession and attempt to transfer an AK-47-like automatic rifle, while Correia is charged with possessing and attempting to transfer a restricted handgun. The trial is scheduled to span more than three months.
In her opening statement to the jury, Saettler said the police agent who agreed to work closely with RCMP is John Garry Shank, a man with a heroin habit who spent time in federal jail.
Shank was arrested by RCMP in November 2009, after he walked away from a halfway house while on parole. Police found him with a loaded machine gun in his trailer.
Saettler said his parole was revoked and he was sent back to Kent Institution.
While in jail, “something astounding happened,” Saettler said — Shank agreed to work with police as an agent.
The prosecutor said at various times Carry, Adams and Correia conspired with the police agent to kill Mahon. Shank wore a recording device — a wire — in a number of meetings.
“The accused, along with a person named Steve or Stevo, were involved in the drug trade in Cranbrook,” Saettler said. “The object was to control the drug trade in the East Kootenays.”
The prosecutor said Adams was Stevo’s “right-hand man” and both reported to a Vancouver contact in the illegal drug trade. Carry and Correia orchestrated drug deals for them in the East Kootenay, including Cranbrook, Invermere and Kimberly.
Their local rivals in the drug trade included Mahon, whom the Crown alleged they later conspired to kill.
A manager at the Sam Steele Inn, a strip bar in downtown Cranbrook, testified Wednesday the two rival groups met inside the bar Oct. 29, 2009.
Gloria Davison testified she called police moments before two sides clashed outside “because I knew there would be trouble.”
Shots were fired soon after the groups were outside, she said.
Following the sound of gunshots, Davison went outside and saw Chad Munroe, an associate of Carry, Correia and Adams, lying on the ground.
Another employee told Davison that Munroe had been shot. The bar manager said she asked Munroe if he needed an ambulance, but he declined medical help.
The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.
Also on Wednesday the Crown entered as exhibits records from Telus of calls and text messages made between mobile phones.
In addition to the judge, jury and three defendants in the courtroom were as many as six sheriffs. Six lawyers, including two Crown and four defence lawyers, are involved in the trial.
Justice Dev Dley told jurors at the outset that while 14 are being chosen, a maximum of 12 will decide the fate of the three men.
The higher number is being used in case any jurors have to drop out. If 14 remain at the end of the trial, two will be taken out via a draw and will not decide on the verdict.