Three men charged following an alleged gang-related kidnapping and robbery in February will stand trial in B.C. Supreme Court.
Justin Daniels, Michael Mathieson and Robert Rennie are facing a raft of charges stemming from a high-profile string of incidents spanning three days in Kamloops and the Okanagan.
Rennie, Mathieson and Daniels are facing charges of robbery with a firearm and unlawful confinement. Daniels and Mathieson are facing additional charges of using a firearm to commit an indictable offence and robbery, while Rennie is charged with a single count of assault causing bodily harm.
The three accused, all in custody, were in Kamloops provincial court on Wednesday to confirm their desire to stand trial in front of a B.C. Supreme Court judge sitting without a jury.
The trio is slated to appear in B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 25 to set a date for trial.
Police have said two men and a woman were robbed by two armed men in downtown Kamloops on Valentine’s Day. According to Mounties, the assailants took the woman against her will in one of the victim’s vehicles.
The woman was found safe the following day when police stopped a vehicle near Falkland, a community about 50 minutes east of Kamloops. Police said guns were also seized from the car.
The victims in both incidents are believed to have ties to the city’s drug trade.
The incident is believed to have been connected to a robbery the previous day, in which a man was beaten and robbed.
The mayhem was part of a series of high-profile gang-related violence in Kamloops in late 2018 and early 2019.
Troy Gold, a man with ties to the city’s drug trade, was murdered in October 2018. Last month, police arrested five men — including alleged high-ranking city gangster Nathan Townsend — on murder charges in connection with Gold’s death.
Two men, Cody Mathieu and Rex Gill, were gunned down in separate shootings outside hotels on Jan. 23. Police have said those murders were related to an ongoing gang conflict in the city, but no arrests have been made. Police say Gill’s death may have been a case of mistaken identity.
On Feb. 15, Justin Glover was killed and Kelly Callfas suffered gunshot wounds to the face in a gang-related shooting in Brocklehurst. Gordie Braaten and Hugh McIntosh have been charged with murder and attempted murder in relation to the incident. Both men are in custody.
The violence stems from a vacuum in the city’s drug trade left by the September 2017 murder of Konaam Shirzad, a co-founder of the Red Scorpions gang. No arrests have been made in connection with Shirzad’s slaying, but prosecutors said as recently as last December that police had “viable suspects.”