Surrey Six trial: Building manager saw blood on victims but no signs of life

Surrey Six Trial

Norman Carothers, the first witness at the Surrey Six murder trial of Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Michael Le waits to enter BC Supreme Court in Vancouver, BC., October 1, 2013. Nick Procaylo/PNG


The young nephew of murder victim Edward Schellenberg was spared the job of working on the gas fireplace in the suite where the Surrey Six murders occurred due to a concern about the tenants in the suite, court heard Tuesday.

Instead, Schellenberg himself did the job and was shot to death along with five other men at the suite in Surrey’s Balmoral Towers.

Prior to the October 2007 murders, Schellenberg and his nephew Zack had been working together to get the gas fireplaces operational in the 121-unit tower.

When they got to the 15th floor, Schellenberg and building manager Tracy Carothers had a discussion about which one of the two men would do the fireplace in suite 1505, where the murders happened.

Carothers was concerned that there had been prior drug trafficking activity in the suite.

“I did mention to Ed that I didn’t think it would be a good environment for Zack to go into that suite because these young men were of questionable behaviour,” Carothers said of the tenants in 1505.

“And I just felt that Zack was young and it was not an environment for him.”

“So who was to do 1505?” asked Crown counsel Mark Levitz.

“Ed,” said Carothers.

The Crown witness said 1505 was the last unit Schellenberg, 55, was to service in the tower and the plan was for him to call her after he was finished.

“Did you ever see Mr. Schellenberg again?” said Levitz.

“No,” replied Carothers.

She told B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Catherine Wedge that as she stood by an elevator, she heard Schellenberg knock on the door of 1505 and heard someone reply, ‘Just a moment.’”

When Schellenberg did not phone her, she asked her husband, Norman Carothers, to go look for him, she said.

Eventually her husband entered the suite and asked her to phone 911, she said.

Police and the fire department responded.

“It got crazy,” she said.

Norman Carothers earlier testified that when he entered suite 1505 in search of Schellenberg, he saw blood on heads of several of the six bodies.

“You testified that you saw six people. Was there any sign of life to anyone?” asked Levitz.

“No, there was not,” said Carothers. “I couldn’t see any sign.”

“Did any of them move,” asked Levitz.

“No,” replied Carothers.

The Crown witness told the judge that Schellenberg’s body was laying in the same direction as two other bodies.

“All had hoods over their heads. I know Ed was face down. I believe the other ones were face down as well.”

“Were they side by side?” said Levitz.

“Yes,” replied Carothers.

He said he noticed that the glass on top of one of the desks in the 15th floor suite was broken.

Court has heard that police found two guns in the suite but Carothers said he did not see any firearms.

Three men — Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Michael Le — have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Schellenberg, Christopher Mohan, 22, Edward Narong, 22, Corey Lal, 21, Michael Lal, 26, and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19, were shot to death on Oct. 19, 2007.

The Crown’s theory is that the murders happened during a war between two rival drug gangs, one led by Corey Lal and the other by Le.

The trial of the three accused is expected to run a year and hear from 120 witnesses.

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