One of the biggest crime stories to hit the Okanagan was put to rest this year with the surprise guilty pleas and the eventual sentencing of Jason McBride, Juhjhar Khun-Khun and Michael Jones.
For committing the second degree murder of notorious gangster Jonathan Bacon in 2011, Jason McBride was sentenced to life in prison, with eligibility to apply for parole at 18 years.
Juhjhar Khun-Khun and Michael Jones were sentenced to 18 years apiece for conspiring to murder Bacon, Larry Amero and James Riach. They were credited time-and-a-half-served for each day they were already behind bars.
Inmates can apply for parole after serving a third of their sentence, then they get statutory release at the two-thirds mark.
While there were countless eye-witness accounts of multiple people firing bullets into the SUV carrying Bacon and company outside the Delta Grand, the presiding judge said there was nothing wrong with the process — the result, he said, was the right one.
‘“In my view, reasonable and informed persons aware of all of the relevant circumstances could not see the joint submission reflecting the breakdown of the proper functioning of the justice system,” said Justice Allan Betton, during the sentencing, addressing concerns that the plea-deal was an affront to those who had expected a more significant result.
“As I have referenced, it has been a highly complex and difficult case with many challenges. And there are significant reasons for uncertainty of what the ultimate outcome would have been for these arrangements of pleas that have been entered.”
The RCMP also said it was a step in the right direction. “When these types of violent crimes occur in our towns and cities it can have a dramatic impact on the people who live, work and visit them,” said Supt. Brent Mundle, Officer in Charge of the Kelowna RCMP. “(These) convictions and sentencing is a testament to the hard work of investigators from multiple police agencies to hold those responsible accountable, and to protect the communities we serve.”
The investigation was both lengthy and costly. A representative of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit today, said the policing costs for the investigation alone were $9 million.
“Over the past six and a half years, hundreds of dedicated and committed officers and support staff from numerous agencies have been involved,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett, the Chief Officer of the CFSEU-BC.
While Kelowna residents will no longer be wondering what happened in that day in 2011, the Bacon family has continued to make headlines.
Jarrod Bacon was released in June, but the parole board of Canada had misgivings. Charges were stayed against Jamie Bacon, last December in connection with an infamous gangland killing in Surrey that left six people dead in 2007.