The family of a man shot to death at a Christmas Eve party in Surrey nearly four years ago is frustrated the trial for his accused killer won’t begin until March 2016.
Russell Bidesi is charged with the second-degree murder of Bradley McPherson on Dec. 24, 2011. His trial was initially scheduled for February 2015 before being put forward to August.
But on the day Bidesi’s trial was to begin a month ago, his defence lawyer announced he was withdrawing from the case for ethical and professional reasons, leaving the accused without counsel and forcing the trial to be rescheduled.
“It was a real shock to our system,” said Brad’s mom Susan Simning, who took a leave of absence from work so she could attend the summer trial. “We were blindsided.
“The family is heartbroken and frustrated we have to wait even longer.”
McPherson, 28, was shot at a get-together in a home near 131 Street and 67A Avenue. At the time of Bidesi’s arrest in April 2013, police said they believed McPherson had stepped in when he saw someone being disrespected and was fatally shot.
Bidesi’s trial is now scheduled to begin March 21 – two days prior to what would have been Brad’s 33rd birthday.
Simning dreads the further six-month wait.
“There is no regard for victims’ lives… all those people who are out there waiting and wanting to have some closure. Everything is put on hold – again.”
She said the slow-moving legal system has proved been exasperating.
“It has been agony, that’s probably the best word because emotionally, you start right from the beginning. I had finally psyched myself up and was ready. I thought I was finally going to get justice for Bradley.”
On top of dealing with the trial delay, Simning said, it was a “nauseating” experience to see her son’s accused killer for the first time.
“I didn’t want to see his face… I did not want to have it in my head, thinking about him until the day of the trial,” she said. “Now I have it lingering in my head.”
Bidesi was found guilty of manslaughter earlier this year in the shooting death of 31-year-old Kacey Rogers in Surrey in February 2012. He has yet to be sentenced for that conviction.
Bidesi’s trial for the McPherson murder will take place in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.