Jury deliberations in Bolsa murder trial drag into second day

The jury continues to deliberate for the second day on the fate of a 28-year-old Calgary man facing three counts of first-degree murder in the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting deaths of two rival gang members and a bystander at the Bolsa Restaurant.

The eight-man, four woman jury was sequestered for about eight hours on Tuesday and for another hour on Wednesday before requesting transcripts of the evidence of two key Crown witnesses -- M.M. and C.E. -- in the case against [The Accused].

C.E. testified that [The Accused], a member of the 403 Soldiers gang, collaborated with FOB gang members to kidnap Aaron Bendle, 21, to get to FK member Sanjeev Mann, 23, to kill him.

M.M. said he was one of the getaway drivers following the shootings of Mann and Bendle by two armed gunmen inside the restaurant and bystander Keni S’ua, 43, who was shot by a third man as he ran into the parking lot just before 4 p.m.

[The Accused] is the third gang member to face trial regarding the bloody incident at the Vietnamese restaurant in Macleod Mall at Macleod Trail and 94th Ave. on Jan. 1, 2009.

Nathan Zuccherato, 25, and Michael Roberto, 28, both members of the FKs bitter rival FOBs, were found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder last October and sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman had turned the case over to the jury at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday after spending more than two hours giving them final instructions.

He told the jury that the transcripts of evidence of the two witnesses would be prepared today, but may take some time.

The jury had heard four weeks of evidence, including grisly testimony of witnesses in the restaurant and a lengthy video of the final scenario of a three-month undercover sting operation that targeted [The Accused].

Poelman cited several key pieces of evidence against the accused killer that had to be weighed carefully by the jury, in particular the four-hour surreptitiously-recorded interview with city police undercover officers Det. Rey Bangloy and Sgt. Darren Berglind on June 2, 2009, at a Vancouver hotel.

[The Accused] told the officers, purportedly part of a fictitious international criminal organization, that he was involved in the kidnapping of Bendle and shot Mann when he went into the restaurant.

His lawyers argued he lied about what happened, in order to become a full-fledged member of the crime group and to get help from them.

The slayings occurred during a bitter rivalry between the FK and FOB street gangs, during which at least 25 people were killed over a five-year period.

Bendle was walking across the floor to the back of the restaurant when he was shot twice in the head by one masked man.

Mann, who was sitting at a table in the back of the restaurant with girlfriend Annie Tran and a friend, Nam (Skinny) Nguyen, was shot several times by another masked man.

Despite the fact he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, which stopped three bullets, Mann was also struck four times. One of the shots went through his back and struck a main artery. S’ua, a regular customer at the restaurant who had no ties to either group, bolted when the shooting started.

It is believed he was mistaken for Mann as he was the same height, close to the same weight, and also had a shaved head and darker skin.

The judge had also noted in his charge that the testimony of M.M. and C.E. corroborated much of what [The Accused] told the undercover officers, but they must weigh the credibility of both of them.

M.M. admitted he was involved in the kidnapping and plan to kill Mann and was one of the getaway drivers, He has been given immunity from prosecution for testifying truthfully at this trial and the trial of the other two other men last fall.