Randi Hill was shocked this week when a B.C. Supreme Court justice found the two men accused of killing her mother in cold blood not guilty of the charges they faced.
The Chilliwack resident was in the courtroom for the decision in the case of a mistaken identity double homicide on May 29, 2010, outside Cranbrook.
Hill’s mother Leanne MacFarlane and Leanne’s partner Jeffrey Todd Taylor were in their home in a rural area east of Cranbrook when they were the victims of what was allegedly supposed to be a targeted gang hit on a former resident of the address.
Eight years later in June 2018, Colin Raymond Correia and Sheldon Joseph Hunter were arrested and later charged with two counts each of first degree murder.
The trial took 150 days and faced several delays leading up to the judgement in B.C. Supreme Court on April 25 of this year.
“I am not satisfied that the two accused persons are innocent,” Silverman said. “However, I am also not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty.”
Gasps could be heard in the public gallery when Justice Arne Silverman read his decision.
“It was terrible,” Hill told The Chilliwack Progress. “We thought we would go there and have some relief. [The trial] was three years long and it took almost 10 years for an arrest. We were already anxious and to have that be the verdict? No one pays for what happened. They are released.”
Hill, whose father also lives in Chilliwack, said the not guilty verdict was surprising to everyone in the courtroom.
“Throughout the whole trial we were under the impression that Correia was sure to be found guilty. With Hunter it was 50/50.
“[Correia] even looked surprised when the judge read the verdict.”
Not only did the circumstantial evidence seem to point to a guilty verdict, Correia was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of the same intended victim in 2012.
The judge’s brief summary of finding reasonable doubt stemmed from three factors.
First, Silverman found that evidence raised a reasonable doubt about whether or not the two accused knew the intended target was not living at the residence.
The sole witness who testified that he saw the two accused before and after the killing was not credible.
And lastly, Hunter’s alibi evidence and his cellphone records reasonably suggested he was in a different place at the time of the murders.
But Hill said everyone was surprised about the acquittal.
“It‘s not like there was not enough evidence. It was 100 per cent them and they get no consequences for what they did. It doesn’t seem fair.”
Hill said the family was told the Crown would file an appeal of the decision but that has not been confirmed.
– with files from Trevor Crawley
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