Kim Bolan/Special to the Langley Advance
Longtime United Nations gang twins David and Ryan Murphy, 42, admitted in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday that they helped their criminal organization commit the murders of Jonathan Barber in Burnaby and Kevin LeClair in Langley.
Both twins were handed just two-year sentences, despite being part of the plot to kill the notorious Bacon brothers and their associates over several months in 2008 and 2009.
Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen heard that the twins were nearby when Barzan Tilli-Choli blasted Barber with an AK-47 provided by David Murphy, while Ryan was at the scene of LeClair’s fatal shooting by Cory Vallee using a machine gun that David had been safeguarding. LeClair was shot at the Thunderbird Village shopping complex in Walnut Grove.
The men each pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly and unlawfully participating in a criminal organization – the UN gang – “for the purpose of enhancing the ability of a criminal organization to commit the indictable offence of conspiracy to commit murder.”
Lawyers for the Murphy twins and Crown prosecutor Gordon Matei made a joint submission for the two-year terms, noting there was no evidence against the brothers until they provided incriminating statements to the RCMP earlier this year.
Matei also provided Cullen with two sealed documents that he said were a key part of the recommendation for the light sentences.
Cullen said that normally the twins’ admitted crimes would warrant more serious charges and a tougher penalty.
“It is sufficient to note that although the two offenders played no direct role in the killing of the two victims, they clearly and knowingly played roles supporting the undertaking,” Cullen said. “Ordinarily one would expect a more serious offence and a harsher sentence to be pursued in cases such as this where wanton gang violence has resulted in two deaths.”
But Cullen imposed the two-year sentences, noting there are “exceptional circumstances in this case which have resulted in these proceedings.”
Both Murphys joined the UN gang in the early 2000s and were involved for years in the drug trade before eventually leaving the gang.
Matei read an agreed statement of facts that provided new details about the nights Barber and LeClair were murdered.
It said the UN had been warring with rivals Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie Bacon over drug turf since 2003.
“Members of the Bacon group began to plot to kill members of the UN gang, particularly then-leader Clay Roueche,” Matei said. “Members of the UN were also trying to kill the Bacons and their associates.”
The conflict “escalated dramatically” on May 8, 2008, when popular UN member Duane Meyer was gunned down in Abbotsford in a suspected hit by the Bacon side.
“Roueche requested that all UN gang members join together to find and kill the Bacons and or their associates. Both David and Ryan Murphy joined in the hunt on the evening of May 9, 2008,” Matei said.
“Together with Jesse Adkins, another UN gang member, David and Ryan Murphy went out looking for the Bacons in Adkins’ Tahoe. In the Tahoe were two loaded AK-47 machine guns which belonged to David Murphy.”
The trio met other UN members in Burnaby where they had spotted a Porsche and a Jeep Cherokee that they believed Bacon gang members were driving.
In fact, the Porsche had just been picked up by Barber, who had no gang involvement. He was simply installing a stereo for Bacon. His girlfriend was driving the Jeep.
The UN gangsters took off in pursuit. Adkins and David Murphy were in his Tahoe with Tilli-Choli in the back with the AK-47s.
UN member Troy Tran and Ryan Murphy were following in Tran’s car.
“Tilli-Choli then opened fire first into the passenger side of the Cherokee and then into the Porsche,” Matei said.
Barber was killed and his girlfriend seriously wounded.
On Feb. 6, 2009, UN gangster Cory Vallee and David Murphy “were hunting for the Bacons,” Matei said.
They met up with Ryan and an associate named Nico, before David left to pack drugs. The others spotted LeClair entering a Langley restaurant. Adkins – the driver from the Barber murder – showed up as they awaited their target. When they saw the Bacon pal again, Adkins and Vallee ran up to him and fired, Matei said.
Adkins carried a handgun that jammed. Vallee used a mini AR 15.
“The mini AR 15 used to kill LeClair was a firearm David Murphy had been storing for another UN gang member in a safe in Adkins’ residence. It was taken without David Murphy’s knowledge,” Matei said.
The Crown also read part of a victim impact statement from Barber’s father Michael.
“The grief and loss experienced since his shocking death, his violent murder, has had a profound effect on so many family members, close friends and work associates that it pierces the very soul of one’s being,” he said. “No parent should experience the death of a child. The loss through unexpected accident of illness is bad enough. The absolute unnecessary lost through a violent killing by others is unfathomable.”
As for the others mentioned in court Tuesday, Tilli-Choli earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kill the Bacons and was sentenced to 14 years. Vallee is awaiting trial for two counts of murder, while Tran has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Adkins is believed to have been killed in Mexico.
Roueche is serving a 30-year sentence in the U.S. for drug trafficking and money laundering.
– Kim Bolan is a reporter with the Vancouver Sun.
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