Verdict nears for Vernon men in high-profile court case

One official predicts a verdict will come in the fall in the 14-month trial of five Vernon men believed to be associates of a notorious gang

One official predicts a verdict will come in the fall in the 14-month trial of five Vernon men believed to be associates of a gang the police call the Greeks.

Douglas Brownell, Pete Manalakos, Jr., Sheldon O’Donnell, Leslie Podolski and Dale Sipes are all facing murder and/or manslaughter charges in connection with the homicides of David Marniuk, Thomas Bryce and Ronald Thom in the North Okanagan between 2004 and 2005.

All five pleaded not guilty on the opening day of their trial in May 2011.

“Legal arguments are now going on,” said RCMP Sgt. Al Haslett, one of the main investigators of the homicides.

“A schedule has to be set so Crown and defence can address the jury, then the judge will address a jury.

“I think sometime in September we’ll have a verdict.”

The trial is being held in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in front of judge William Smart.

Haslett estimates close to 120 witnesses have taken the stand.