Vancouver Sun

Killer to testify at Surrey Six murder trial

Ex- gangster pleads guilty to murders in 2001 and 2003

- BY KIM BOLAN

A former Red Scorpion gangster who pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Tuesday says he will be a key witness in the Surrey Six murder case when it goes to trial next year.

Anton Hooites-Meursing disclosed to The Vancouver Sun that he is the mysterious Person X who was named as an unindicted co-conspirato­r when five other gangsters were first charged in the Surrey Six case in April 2009.

Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigat­ion Team said he could not comment on the identity of a witness in any murder case that is before the courts.

But The Sun obtained the latest indictment in the Surrey Six prosecutio­n and it now names Hooites-Meursing as a conspirato­r in the murder of one of the six victims, Corey Lal, along with Dennis Karbovanec, Jamie Bacon, Cody Haevischer, Matt Johnson and Mike Le.

Hooites-Meursing told The Sun that he decided to cooperate in the high-profile murder case because he wanted to make amends for more than 20 years as a criminal.

“ I chose to become a ‘ rat’ when it was abundantly clear that the game was fake and everybody in it were frauds, no real honour, no real friendship, nothing to ever be proud of,” Hooites-Meursing said. “ I cannot speak further, but just want everyone to know that I will do everything that is within my power to be strong, to be clear and honest with nothing but true to what is my debt to society and in the hopes of finding justice for those five families. May God bless them and all who are victims of the senseless violence that is the price and costs of the gangs and drugs subculture of the Lower Mainland.”

Hooites-Meursing made a surprise appearance in B. C. Supreme Court in New Westminste­r on Tuesday to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in connection with a 2001 Surrey slaying and a 2003 Abbotsford murder.

In each case, court documents indicate other suspects were involved in the murders. Police continue to investigat­e both slayings and others may be charged, Carr said outside court.

“ These are ongoing investigat­ions. We don’t just put these cases in a box and close it. We are working on gathering more evidence that would support the laying of additional charges,” Carr said.

Under tight security, Hooites-Meursing appeared in courtroom 102 in New Westminste­r Tuesday morning.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to the June 13, 2001 murder of 22-year-old Randy McLeod in Surrey and the execution of 19-year-old Gurpreet Singh ( Bobby) Rehal on March 13, 2003 at his Abbotsford home.

McLeod’s murder was related to a drug rip-off, the court heard. And Rehal’s was in retaliatio­n for an attempt on the life of Hooites-Meursing’s friend at the time.

He also admitted to the December 2002 stabbing death outside an Abbotsford nightclub of a United Nations gang associate, though he wasn’t charged in the case. Another outstandin­g second-degree murder count against Hooites-Meursing for shooting his crime boss in 2003 was stayed.

Hooites-Meursing got an automatic life sentence with no hope of parole for 25 years from Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm.

Both Crown lawyer Melissa Gillespie and defence lawyer Joe Doyle said Hooites-Meursing was extremely remorseful and had fully cooperated with police.

Families of both victims packed the courtroom for the plea, in the same room used for the trial of serial killer Robert Pickton.

Hooites-Meursing wore a grey hoodie, jeans and Nikes and kept his head down as the agreed statement of facts was read.

Anguished cries and wails were heard as details of each killing were relayed by the Crown.

Gillespie read out an agreed statement of grisly facts. She said McLeod was living in a Surrey townhouse complex near 127 and 66 Avenue when he left home about 4: 30 p. m. on June 12, 2001.

The next day his mother reported him missing. On June 15, his dad found his abandoned truck in the parking lot of the Canadian Tire store in the 8100-block of 120th Street.

Eight days later, McLeod’s body was found in the bushes in the 25100-block of Fourth Avenue in Langley. An observant resident had noticed the bushes were flattened and disturbed and found McLeod, badly decomposed and without pants or shoes. His socks were clean, indicating he had been dumped.

He had a two-centimetre wide black nylon strap around his neck and had been strangled.

Hooites-Meursing admitted he was asked by another man, unidentifi­ed in court, to kill McLeod for a stash of cocaine, heroin and cash.

The two killers had invited McLeod to a meeting in the parking lot where his truck was later found, the court heard.

They put him in a headlock and threw him in the back of a rental van, where he was bound. They went to his townhouse, where Hooites-Meursing broke in to find the drugs and about $ 10,000.

They drove McLeod to Zero

Families of both victims packed the courtroom for the plea, in the same room used for the trial of serial killer Robert Pickton. Hooites-Meursing wore a grey hoodie, jeans and Nikes and kept his head down as the agreed statement of facts was read. Anguished cries and wails were heard as details of each killing were relayed by the Crown.

Avenue near the Langley-Surrey border where they tried to figure out what to do “ with Hooites-Meursing questionin­g the need to kill McLeod.” The other man wanted him dead.

So Hooites-Meursing strangled McLeod and they dumped his body. Some of McLeod’s clothing was removed because Hooites-Meursing was worried his accomplice had left DNA.

The second murder had a buildup of several months of violent conflict, Gillespie said.

It started on Dec. 22, 2002 when Hooites-Meursing and two men identified in court only as Male No. 1 and Male No. 2 went to the Luxor nightclub in Abbotsford. Earlier that evening, Hooites-Meursing’s pal Edward ( Skeeter) Russell asked Hooites-Meursing to keep Male No. 1 safe that night.

“ While in the Luxor nightclub, Male No. 1 got into a fight with James Thiphavong and some of Thiphavong’s associates and brothers. During this fight, Male No. 1 was struck in the face with a bottle, which caused Male No. 1 to bleed,” Gillespie said.

Both groups got tossed from the club and the fight continued outside.

“ Male No. 1 was outnumbere­d, so Hooites-Meursing, who had a knife in his possession, entered the fight,” she said. “ Hooites-Meursing stabbed BonLeuth Thiphavong and his brother Souskavath Thiphavong. BonLeuth Thiphavong died.”

Gillespie did not explain why Hooites-Meursing was not charged in the stabbing of the UN gang associate.

But she said Russell was shot on March 9, 2003, which Hooites-Meursing and his friends believed was in retaliatio­n for the Luxor stabbing.

Within a week of the attempt on Russell’s life, Russell, Hooites-Meursing and pals learned that Bobby Rehal had told others he had advance notice of the hit on Russell. They were even given a tape of Rehal making such claims “ and laughing about it,” Gillespie said.

So the group decided to kill Rehal on March 13. They stole a car and drove to his Saturna Crescent family home in Abbotsford. One man, unidentifi­ed in court, was the shooter. Another, who was not named either, drove the stolen car and Hooites-Meursing was waiting in the getaway car a few blocks away.

The shooter got out at the house, went to the door and tried to force his way in, shooting the teen in the face and torso with a hand-gun. Startled relatives and neighbours reacted to the shots fired.

“ A large quantity of blood was observed by police and EHS personnel on the floor around Rehal,” Gillespie said. “ The window to the left of the front door was broken and three shell casings were recovered on the ground inside the front door.”

Gillespie told Justice Dohm that “ the family members and friends of the deceased Randy McLeod and Gurpreet Rehal continue to suffer profoundly as a result of the senseless death of their loved ones.”

She noted that Hooites-Meursing had a previous record for firearms offences, counterfei­ting, fraud and possession for the purpose of traffickin­g.

“ The offences before the court were committed in 2001 and 2003 respective­ly. The police had conducted investigat­ions at the time of the offences regarding each of these matters. Recently Anton Hooites-Meursing cooperated with police in the investigat­ion of these matters; as a result of his cooperatio­n, charges were laid,” Gillespie said. “ He is very remorseful for and wishes to be held accountabl­e for his actions.”

Gillespie explained that a stay was being entered in the October 2003 shooting of gangster John Lahn in Burnaby.

Hooites-Meursing earlier admitted he pulled the trigger on Lahn, but said it was in selfdefenc­e. His first trial ended in a hung jury and his second ended with a mistrial after the judge ruled the Crown’s conduct inappropri­ate. Hooites-Meursing was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada in January 2009 to stand trial a third time.

Hooites-Meursing has been associated with gangs in Los Angeles and across the Lower Mainland. He was linked not only to the Red Scorpions and the Bacon brothers, but also to the Independen­t Soldiers and a number of other organized criminals.

He was at the notorious Castle Fun Park meeting back in December 2006 when Jamie Bacon, Dennis Karbovanec and Jeff Harvey of the Red Scorpions were meeting with Randy Naicker and James Riach of the Independen­t Soldiers. Several of the meeting participan­ts are now in jail on a series of charges.

 ??  ?? Anton Hooites-Meursing, a former member of the Red Scorpions gang who pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Westminste­r Supreme Court to first-degree murder in connection with two murders. Above, a recent photo. Below, photos from a few years ago.
Anton Hooites-Meursing, a former member of the Red Scorpions gang who pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Westminste­r Supreme Court to first-degree murder in connection with two murders. Above, a recent photo. Below, photos from a few years ago.
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