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Masked man held gun to head of slain woman's sister-in-law, court hears

Leanne MacFarlane and Jeffrey Todd Taylor were killed May 2010
One of two men charged with first-degree murder in the killing of an innocent couple wanted the death house's former occupant dead, a court was told Dec. 2, 2021. (via Submitted)

The sister-in-law of a woman killed near Cranbrook had a masked man point a gun to her head, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard Friday.

It was after the gunman and an accomplice ran off that Lise MacFarlane found the body of her sister-in-law, Leanne MacFarlane, who had been killed with partner Jeffrey Todd Taylor in May 2010.

She may have been saved by the fact the man’s gun was out of bullets.

"'I think I heard it click,'" Crown prosecutor Peter Favell recalled her as testifying. "'Then, he told me to get down on the ground.'"

She had said she looked at his clothes and boots, decided she wasn’t going to get a kicking and ran.

Colin Raymond Correia and Sheldon Joseph Hunter are charged with first-degree murder in the deaths. It’s the Crown theory that the men went to the home to kill a gang associate who had once lived at the property.

Favell continued his final arguments Dec. 3, urging the judge to accept evidence of one witness Z whose name is protected by a court order, and who was in the vehicle Favell said picked up Correia and Hunter.

The defence had suggested Z knew about the confrontation between the man and Lise MacFarlane from police and the media. Crown counsel refuted that, saying Z knew because he was there.

“Only the killers know Lise MacFarlane had run away in terror,” Favell said. “These details are of a kind and number no one can guess about.”

Favell also said witnesses saw the men in blood-spattered overalls near the killing site, and also that alleged accomplices who got immunity agreements were with them when the clothes the two had been wearing including leather gloves and balaclavas had been burned with gasoline Hunter had fetched from a vehicle.

And, Favell said, evidence also showed, Hunter’s cellphone records indicate he was in the vicinity of the burn site when that occurred.

Witnesses along the highway after the killing also testified to seeing people of Correia and Hunter’s description. One of those people had a beard.

Favell said those descriptions matched those of men who had earlier been in a bar where they were caught on video near a pool table. The court saw the video.

“You get a very good view of the beard ... that (Correia) had on his face hours before the murders," Favell said. "The Crown says it accurately shows Correia’s facial hair.”

Earlier evidence

On Dec. 2, Favell told court Correia had connections to weapons used, and wanted to kill the owner of the house where the killings took place.

However, the house where the couple was killed had been vacated several months earlier by Doug Mahon, who passed away in July.

Correia wanted Mahon dead, the court heard.

“Who was it who wanted to murder Doug Mahon and wanted to go to the house to do so? It was Mr. Correia,” Favell said.

“The circumstantial evidence envelopes Mr. Correia,” Favell told the judge.

RCMP were called to a shooting at a rural residence off Highway 3/93 and found a woman dead and a man with severe injuries of which he later died.

At the time, RCMP said it was a targeted incident but that the dead were not the intended targets.

Correia and Hunter were arrested in 2018 separately in Alberta after a years’-long investigation.

Favell told the judge that Correia was a cocaine dealer and connected with one of two Cranbrook-area drug trafficking groups.

And, he said, men resembling Correia and Hunter were seen near the residence on the night of the killings.

Favell said Correia was connected to Smith and Wesson 44-calibre and Webley 38-calibre handguns and his DNA was found on one.

“Mr. Correia had access to the type of weapon used to murder two people,” Favell said.

Further, he said, the DNA of other members of a crime group with which Correia was associated was found on weapons at the crime scene.

“The group passed weapons around,” Favell said.

The Crown prosecutor noted Correia was also connected with a man who survived a shooting at Cranbrook’s Sam Steele Inn in October 2009. That man is believed to be an associate of full-patch Mission Hells Angels Jason Arkinstall.

Kevin Winters was found guilty in that shooting and sentenced to seven years. Donald Faid was found guilty of retrieving the gun used in the shooting from a vehicle. Faid was then on parole for a 1979 Alberta murder.

Correia was not on good terms with Winters or Faid either. He wanted them killed too, Favell said.

But, when it came the aftermath of the killings at the house formerly occupied by the man he wanted dead, Correia seemed uninterested, the court heard.

Favell told of a conversation between a police informant and Correia four days after the killings in which the informant asked about the deaths.

Correia wasn’t really interested.

“For a person who has wanted for months to murder Mr. Mahon, he has absolutely no questions,” Favell said.