The Hamilton Spectator
Hamilton man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2020 Brantford motel shooting
Shajjad Idrish, 26, is still facing a first-degree murder charge in unrelated Hamilton shooting
A 26-year-old Hamilton man — charged in two separate 2020 murders — has admitted to shooting several people during a confrontation inside a Brantford motel.
Shajjad Idrish was initially charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting at the Galaxy Motel on Colborne Street on Feb. 8, 2020. However, after striking a plea deal, he pleaded guilty Wednesday to the second-degree murder of 42year-old Jason Kossatz and attempted murder of Peter McKendrick, who was 26 at the time.
Court heard Kossatz died in hospital soon after being found shot in the head. McKendrick survived being shot in the neck but was left a quadriplegic.
He died from pneumonia on June 16, 2022; the pneumonia would not have been fatal were it not for his injuries.
A third victim, Jordan McNeil, was shot in the chest and survived.
He was not co-operative with police. Idrish’s second attempted murder charge was withdrawn in court.
Following a joint submission from the Crown and defence, Superior Court Justice Paul Sweeny sentenced Idrish to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 13 years. Idrish was also sentenced to seven years for the attempted murder to be served concurrently.
According to an agreed statement of facts read by assistant Crown attorney Alex Burns, Roger VanEvery — a friend of Idrish — had arranged for a home invasion robbery at 5 Morton Ave. in Brantford around 3 a.m. Feb. 8, 2020. Kossatz, McKendrick, McNeil and a fourth man named Matthew Mehlenbacher were to carry out the robbery on behalf of VanEvery. They were driven by a woman named Megan Nicolaidis.
After the home invasion, Nicolaidis was supposed to drive the four men to VanEvery, but instead they directed her to take them to the motel where they gathered in room 16. Nicolaidis and Mehlenbacher then went to pick up VanEvery and Idrish, who was with VanEvery but had nothing to do with the robbery. Burns said VanEvery was upset because he believed he was being cut out of the proceeds and planned to go to the motel to show the group “who was the boss.”
Nicolaidis drove the men to the motel but was instructed to park at a property to the east. Mehlenbacher acted as lookout while Idrish and VanEvery went into the room. “Words were exchanged” and both Idrish and VanEvery pulled out handguns.
It is believed VanEvery’s gun misfired and it was Idrish who shot all three men, Burns said.
After the shooting, they ran back to Nicolaidis’ car and fled. VanEvery was dropped off in Six Nations and then Nicolaidis’ car was captured on surveillance video in Hamilton. Later that day, Hamilton police responded to a call where Mehlenbacher was suffering from an overdose and Nicolaidis tried to get him help.
She was arrested and told police “I think I was involved in a murder last night” and “One of the guys in my vehicle had a gun.”
At the time of the motel shooting, Idrish did not have a criminal record. Defence lawyer Asgar Manek noted that the 26-year-old has a Grade 11 education and lived with his parents and siblings before his Feb. 14, 2020 arrest. He helped care for his mother, who suffered a brain aneurysm, worked at times as a general labourer and volunteered his time at Goodwill and at his community’s mosque.
Idrish was not the planner of the home invasion and only ended up at the motel because he was with VanEvery, who was the “boss,” Manek said. “He had no interest in the loot.”
However, he was armed, and when words were exchanged, “adrenalin was running high” and he fired his gun. Manek noted that the witnesses in the case were “unsavoury” and “evasive,” something that could have been an advantage to his case in trial. Nonetheless, he pleaded guilty, sparing the court a five-week trial.
Sweeny said he accepted the guilty plea as a sign of remorse.
There were no victim impact statements at the hearing. Burns told the court he met with McKendrick’s family in August and discussed a similar resolution and they were agreeable. Kossatz’s family did not want to provide a victim impact statement.
When asked whether he wanted to say anything to the court, Idrish replied: “No, your honour.”
Nicolaidis and Mehlenbacher were initially charged with accessory after the fact to murder, but pleaded guilty to obstruct justice.
VanEvery was jointly charged with Idrish. His case remains before the court.
In an unrelated case, Idrish is charged with first-degree murder for the Jan. 29, 2020, shooting death of David Stevens at a rooming house on Harvey Street in Hamilton.
In that case, it is alleged the shooter was targeting another tenant in the building but fired through the wrong door, killing the 46-year-old innocent victim. That case also remains before the courts in Hamilton.