KELOWNA — The bodyguard for the man accused of orchestrating the murder of Jonathan Bacon was in West Kelowna the morning of the shooting, surveillance tapes show.
Thomas Mantel pumped gas into a silver pickup truck at a Shell station in West Kelowna at 3:23 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2011, as shown on security footage played Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.
Surveillance tapes from inside the store show a burly man with tattoos on the back of his neck, dressed in black, his face clearly visible several times as he pays for the gas.
“I believe him to be Thomas Mantel,” Julianna Masson, an RCMP forensic video analyst said of the man shown in the video.
Also shown in video taken at the same time in the store was a man Masson said she believed was Stephen Leone.
A silver pickup similar to the one that Mantel fuelled pulled up to the Comfort Inn motel in West Kelowna a few hours later, according to another segment of surveillance video shown in court.
Mantel was the bodyguard for the late Sukh Dhak, a Lower Mainland gangster who the Crown says ordered the daylight shooting that killed Bacon and wounded three others outside the Delta Grand hotel on the afternoon of Aug. 14, 2011.
Leone was murdered in October 2011, and Mantel was killed along with Dhak in a November 2012 hit. Police have said their murders were revenge killings in a Lower Mainland gang war that had reached into Kelowna when Bacon was killed.
Michael Jones, Jujhar Khun-Khun and Jason McBride are on trial for the first-degree murder of Bacon and the attempted murder of three others who were in a Porsche Cayenne when it was sprayed with gunfire as passersby ran for cover.
Court has heard earlier how other associates of Dhak watched the Grand the night before the shooting, looking for Larry Amero, a Hells Angel who Dhak believed had a role in the killing of his brother.
Also on Tuesday, Lake Country resident Jeff Elias testified he was the first person to reach the scene of a burning SUV that the Crown says had been used as the getaway vehicle by Bacon’s killers.
Elias saw smoke from his house and found the burning SUV pointed up the driveway of a property at 18451 Commonage Rd. Elias noticed there was a red jerry can under the SUV at its back end.
“It was on fire, but I could see that it was an SUV,” Elias testified. “It wasn’t fully engulfed, but the fire was starting to come out the sides and up the sides of the vehicle.”
Another man also rushed to the scene and started throwing dirt on a grass fire that had been lit by the burning SUV, Elias said.
“The fire was starting to up the hill into grasslands,” he said.
The trial continues.