REAL SCOOP: Closing arguments in Cory Vallee murder trial

The closing arguments began yesterday in the long-running Cory Vallee murder trial. On the first day, one of the prosecutors discussed case law she wants the judge to rely upon when she is evaluating the former gang members turned Crown witnesses.

I went back today to hear some of the evidence the Crown is arguing proves Vallee’s role not only in the conspiracy to kill the Bacon brothers, but also the February 2009 murder of their associate Kevin Eclair.

Here’s my story:

Other evidence at Vallee trial backs unsavoury witnesses, Crown says

When the United Nations gang was hunting the Bacon brothers and their fellow Red Scorpions a decade ago, it was not your average murder conspiracy, a prosecutor said in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday.

In fact, shootings and murders that went on for months could more accurately be described as a war, Crown Alex Burton said in closing submissions at the Cory Vallee murder trial.

“We have an unusual set of circumstances here. We essentially have a war going on between these two groups,” Burton said. “They are almost like tit-for-tat killings going back and forth.”

Vallee is charged with conspiring to kill Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie Bacon between Jan. 1, 2008 and Feb. 8, 2009, as well as the Feb. 6, 2009 murder of their associate Kevin LeClair.

Over months of evidence presented last year, four former UN gangsters-turned Crown witnesses pointed the finger at Vallee, telling Justice Janice Dillon that he was brought in as a hitman to kill the Bacons.

Vallee’s lawyers are expected to attack the credibility of those witnesses during their closing arguments next week, pointing to their admitted criminal histories.

But Burton told Dillon on Thursday that there is corroborating evidence for the testimony of the men, known only as A, B, C and D due to a sweeping publication ban.

He …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

REAL SCOOP: Street level criminals have easy access to firearms

In November, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth released the first report of the B.C. Task Force on Illegal Firearms. Some of the recommendations from that report are now in the works, including a new unit with the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit to come up with strategies to deal with guns in the hands of criminals.

In the meantime, there are still a lot of illegal firearms being used even by low-level criminals. Richmond RCMP arrested a man Jan. 16 allegedly breaking into a local business. He had a loaded 357 Magnum on him. And Kamloops RCMP seized firearms during the search of a house that had been targeted in a home invasion. A 20-year-old woman was arrested.

Firearm seized by Kamloops RCMP

Here’s my story about easily accessible firearms:

B.C. criminals still have easy access to firearms, former cop says

Across Metro Vancouver Wednesday, at least a dozen people accused of firearms crimes appeared in provincial courthouses.

Four of them were in Vancouver courtrooms on charges that included possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm contrary to a court order and attempted murder with a firearm.

Three others appeared in Surrey on counts that included robbery with a firearm and possession of a loaded restricted gun. Two more were on the court list in North Vancouver for firearms charges. Another two gun cases were being heard in Richmond. And one man appeared in Port Coquitlam provincial court charged with robbery using a firearm.

The large number of firearms prosecutions demonstrates the relative ease with which criminals can get their hands on guns today, says former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed.

For a few hundred dollars, even street-level drug dealers can buy guns, creating the potential for deadly violence like the shootout that led to the death of 15-year-old Coquitlam student …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

6 things you need to do before you die

Residents of Hawaii received a massive emergency text alert on Saturday that warned of an inbound missile ready to strike the island.

Locals only had 15 minutes to find shelter, according to NPR. It took another 15 minutes or so for Hawaiians to find out the warning was a mistake.

Many people later shared with news media how it felt to think their lives would soon come to an end during those minutes of uncertainty.

If it were real, how many of those people had their personal affairs in order?

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 44 percent of Americans say they have a will that describes how they want their property and money handled after their death. That’s lower than in 2005 (51 percent) and 1990 (48 percent).

The poll found 68 percent of people 65 and older have a will, compared with 14 percent of those who are younger than 30.

Here’s a look at six things you can do to prepare for death, which will happen — you just don’t know when:

Review beneficiary forms

According to Forbes, it’s important to review your retirement accounts to make sure your funds will go to the right person. Make sure you name both a primary and an alternate beneficiary in case of any hiccups. It’s also important to figure out how much money or possessions to share with family and friends once you’re gone.

Draft a will

Put together a will that explains where your property will go after you die, according to Legal Zoom. Make sure you name an executor or someone who can handle the distribution of the property you will leave behind.

Be specific

When writing your will, make sure you’re specific and detailed about what you have and how you will divide your possessions. “If you are using …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

The Happenings: Three things to do in Vancouver on Friday, Jan. 19

Looking for something to do in Metro Vancouver? Here are three suggestions for Friday, Jan. 19.

Dine Out Vancouver

There may not be a better local event for foodies than Dine Out Vancouver, a 17-day celebration of the city’s culinary scene, with special menus at more than 250 participating restaurants, not to mention tastings, workshops and classes. The whole thing gets started Friday, and while the opening grand tasting event is already sold out, there are a few other options for your Friday night. You can check them all out here, but if you need a recommendation, I’d point to either the East Vancouver Craft Beer and Food Tour or the Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Tour, both of which kick off at Waterfront Station in the afternoon. Those attending the Japanese cuisine tour meet at 3 p.m., and the craft beer tour meets at 4 p.m. From there, you’ll be guided through Vancouver’s participating eateries and drinkeries for a very memorable night on the town.

Where: Waterfront Station, 601 W Cordova St., Vancouver
When: 3 p.m. (Japanese cuisine), 4 p.m. (craft beer)
Cost: $73.25 (Japanese cuisine), $99.50 (craft beer)

It’s Just Drag!

There are lots of great drag shows around Vancouver, but I’m definitely partial to ones featuring former cast members from RuPaul’s Drag Race. (It’s only good reality show on television, and arguably the best show on television, period.) It’s Just Drag stars Shea Coulee & Chi Chi Devayne, who are both just awesome, but it also features performances from 20 local drag performers, so in addition to seeing two of the best drag performers in the world, you’ll get a good sense of the local scene at It’s Just Drag. Definitely a little pricier than most Vancouver drag shows but worth it, in my opinion.

Still, if the cost gives …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun