A Saskatoon judge has dismissed an application to throw out murder charges against two of three men on trial in connection to the shooting death of Isho Hana.
Defence lawyers for Kenneth Tingle and Long Nam Luu applied for a directed verdict of acquittal to be made prior to the conclusion of the trial.
Luu and Tingle, along with Jonathan Dombowsky, are charged with first-degree murder. Hana, 34, was gunned down in the middle of Preston Avenue South on April 15, 2004.
A fourth man, Neil Yakimchuk, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder after being convicted last year of shooting Hana. His trial was separate from the other three accused because he confessed to killing Hana during an undercover police sting in 2011. His confessions also implicated Luu, Dombowsky and Tingle, culminating in charges of first-degree murder.
But Yakimchuk refused to testify at the men’s trial, leading to a voir dire on the information he provided during the Mr. Big sting confessions. Justice Richard Danyliuk ruled that most of that evidence is admissible at the trial.
Morris Bodnar, who is representing Luu, argued this week that there is no evidence to prove that his client is “Jesse,” the man who Yakimchuk told undercover police put up $40,000 to have Hana killed.
In the video-recorded confession, Yakimchuk refers to “Jesse” as an Asian man who is Dombowsky’s partner. Noel Harder, a police informant, also testified that Luu went by the name “Jesse” and was a known drug dealer in Saskatoon, Danyliuk pointed out when delivering his ruling on the acquittal application.
Tingle’s lawyer, Markham Silver, argued there were also identity issues with his client. But during his confession, Danyliuk outlined how Yakimchuk identified Tingle as “the black guy” who was with him at the murder scene. A witness also provided a description that loosely matched Tingle.
At Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday, Danyliuk concluded that there is enough evidence for Tingle and Luu’s fate to be determined by the trier of fact.
Dombowsky’s lawyer, George Combe, and Silver did not call evidence Friday. Bodnar indicated he will possibly call evidence in December.
Closing arguments in the trial that has spanned more than a year have been set for February 2016.