WARNING: This story contains disturbing details
Kia Ebrahimian should serve life in prison, with no chance of parole for at least 15 years, for the murder of three members of his family, Crown prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed in New Westminster Supreme Court on Friday.
Lawyers laid out the circumstances of both the crime and the killer in a sentencing hearing on Dec. 16, before the judge heard emotional victim impact statements.
Ebrahimian pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree murder on Oct. 3, in the 2020 killings of his mother Tatiana Bazyar, Bazyar’s common-law husband Francesco Zangrilli, and Ebrahimian’s brother Befrin.
Relatives of the victims, including Tatiana’s brother Armand Bazyar, Zangrilli’s brother Giampiero Zangrilli, Befrin’s girlfriend Kiko Kung, and Befrin’s childhood friend Ahna Whiteman, were among those who spoke.
Whiteman spoke of growing up with Befrin, who she knew as Medea, and described him as being like a sibling to her.
“It breaks my heart that I’ll never get to meet Befrin, her true identity, which she found later in life,” Whiteman said.
Kung broke down in tears as she delivered her statement.
“I grew up thinking something was wrong with me, and I was unloveable,” Kung said. That changed when she became friends with Befrin.
“With him, I didn’t have to pretend to be something else,” she said.
She described how they texted multiple times a day, until June 13.
“When he didn’t respond to me for hours, I knew something was wrong.”
She went to check on him at his home, and turned the corner to see the house gutted by fire.
“I’ve lost my best friend in the world,” Kung said.
Zangrilli’s family watched the proceedings via a live video from the Canadian embassy in Rome.
Giampiero’s impact statement, read to the court by Crown lawyer Sonya Bertrand, spoke of how their mother still goes to visit her son’s grave every day.
“How can one accept the death of one’s own son?” Giampiero wrote.
Crown prosecutor Michael Fortino summarized the facts of the case for Justice Murray Blok.
Before the June 13, 2020 attack, Ebrahimian had no criminal record, and his only interactions with police had been when he was at risk of self-harm.
He had moved back in with his mother, step-father, and brother in March of that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There had been strife in the home for some time,” said Fortino.
Both Fortino and defense lawyer Donna Turcot painted a picture of Ebrahimian as a young man who was socially isolated, with few or no friends, and who had dropped out of school and only worked a few jobs.
He was angry with his mother, and repeatedly clashed with his brother Befrin, a trans man, using transphobic language.
Late in the afternoon of June 13, Zangrilli phoned the non-emergency number of the Langley RCMP. The call would capture the sounds of the murders, as Ebrahimian attacked his family with knives, starting with Zangrilli, then his mother, and then Befrin.
After that, he doused the lower floor of the family’s Wakefield Drive home with gasoline, let out his dogs, and set the building ablaze. He headed back up to his second floor bedroom, and only survived because three neighbours put up a ladder and rescued him after they noticed smoke.
RCMP, alerted to a domestic incident by the phone call, arrived to find the house already filling with smoke.
One officer broke a window to gain access to the lower floor and dragged out Zangrilli, and although first responders tried to revive him, he was declared dead at the scene.
The other two bodies would only be discovered by firefighters later.
At the RCMP detachment headquarters, officers noticed an item in Ebrahimian’s pocket, and fearing it was a weapon, they searched him. They found a large folding knife, still with blood on the blade, and a second knife hung around his neck.
After being hospitalized with suicidal thoughts within 24 hours of the murder, Ebrahimian was charged with murder on July 11, 2020.
He’s been in custody ever since.
Both Crown and the defense said that Ebrahimian’s mental state is poor, and he’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
He has attempted suicide multiple times since he was arrested, including ingesting several razor blades, and trying to fling himself off an upper tier in the pre-trial centre where he’s been held for the last two years.
“He hears his mother’s voice,” said Turcot. “He lives in a very, how can I say it, we would see it as a very pitiful existence. He would see it as a painful existence.”
Ebrahimian is currently being given powerful medications to attempt to control his suicidal urges. Turcot asked the judge to recommend he be sent to a medical prison facility rather than Kent Institution, which is the usual first stop for convicted murderers in B.C.
Wearing an orange sweat suit, Ebrahimian entered the courtroom hunched over, and sat almost silently in the prisoner’s box during the morning-long hearing. He frequently rocked back and forth.
Asked if he wanted to say anything before the judge passes sentence, he declined through Turcot.
Blok will make his sentencing ruling on Monday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m.
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