November 27, 2013 - 12:44 PM
VERNON - Four of five people affiliated with a gang called the Greeks in Vernon, B.C., are appealing their murder convictions.
A year ago, jurors found Peter Manolakos, Dale Sipes, Leslie Podolski, Sheldon O’Donnell and Douglas Brownell guilty for their roles in killing three men.
Sipes was the first to appeal his conviction on two counts of first-degree murder, alleging errors by the judge during the trial and in his charge to the jury.
Brownell is the only member of the gang that trafficked in cocaine and heroin not to file an appeal of his sentence.
The five men's B.C. Supreme Court trial — the longest jury trial in the province's history — wrapped up last year in Vancouver.
Court heard gang members murdered David Marniuk, Thomas Bryce, and Ronald Thom.
Thom was killed after he was mistaken as a police informant, while both Marniuk and Bryce were involved in drugs and got caught in the Greeks' net.
O'Donnell used an aluminum baseball bat in the beating death of Bryce and cremated Marniuk's body after killing him.
He was convicted of second-degree murder in Bryce’s death, while the jury found Brownell guilty of manslaughter.
Manolakos, the ringleader of the gang, was sentenced to life in prison with no parole at least 25 years for the first-degree murder of Thom and manslaughter in the death of Marnuik in 2004.
William Mastop, a lawyer who fed the gang information about police activities, was recently sentenced to two and a half years behind bars after the B.C. Appeal Court more than doubled his original sentence for helping the Greeks in their illicit activities.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013