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Suspected B.C. gangland killer still awaiting legal aid

Connor D'Monte is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Kevin Leclair, gunned down in a Langley mall parking lot.
Conor D'Monte was returned to Canada in March.

A suspected B.C. gangster brought back to British Columbia after years of eluding police is awaiting legal aid approval for his defence, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard May 29.

Conor Vincent D’Monte was being held in custody in Puerto Rico where he was arrested in 2022 after years of being sought by police for his alleged role in a gang-related homicide.

He was returned to Canada in March.

D’Monte is now awaiting a legal aid application for his defence, Justice Heather MacNaughton heard from Tyson Talhan, an articling law student speaking for defence lawyer Chris Johnson.

The court also heard on April 17 that D’Monte was awaiting legal aid approval.

“By next week, we should have everything in order so we can proceed,” Talhan told MacNaughton.

The judge said she expected matters to be “in hand” by the next court date.

D’Monte is charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 6, 2009 death of Kevin Leclair, who was gunned down mid-afternoon as he sat in his truck in a Langley mall parking lot.

He was also charged with conspiracy to kill Red Scorpions gangsters Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie Bacon.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) said it worked closely with the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Department of Justice, Canadian Consular Services, and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

The other cases

On Jan. 13, 2022, B.C.’s Court of Appeal rejected the case of Cory Vallee, a Lower Mainland gang member convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

“The theory of the Crown was that Vallee was a hired hit man of the UN (United Nations) gang and was culpable in both the conspiracy to murder and the murder of Leclair,” the appeal ruling said.

During the lengthy 2016-2018 B.C. Supreme Court trial, the defence admitted the existence of a UN gang conspiracy led by Clayton Roueche to murder the Bacons and their associates between January 2008 and February 2009.

Among issues Vallee appealed were findings he was part of that conspiracy and that he murdered Leclair.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon found that Vallee was the shooter of an AR‑15 automatic rifle in the case.

Dillon noted Vallee was introduced to UN high-level members by Roueche as “Frankie” and given the role as a hit man in the search to kill members of the Bacon group.

The appeal court said Dillon “did not have a reasonable doubt that Vallee was a member of the conspiracy.”

Much of the guilty verdict rested on the evidence from other gangsters which Vallee’s appeal lawyers said should be treated as suspect and not credible.

“The judge made extensive and detailed credibility findings based on the mountain of evidence she heard,” the three-judge appeal panel heard. “We find no error demonstrated on which to interfere with her findings. We do not consider that there is any merit to this ground of appeal.”

The appeal also dealt with the application for a mistrial stemming from late admission of video evidence. The video footage showed Vallee in a restaurant near the homicide scene with other gang members hours before the killing.

The defence had sought a mistrial on the admission of the late evidence. Dillon rejected that.

The appeal court found Dillon made no error in law in declining the mistrial application.