Guilty plea in 2009 Lower Mainland gang slaying

A man arrested in Ontario in the summer of 2018 has entered a guilty plea

Kevin LeClair was shot to death in Walnut Grove in Feburary 2009. (File photo)

A 38-year-old man arrested in Ontario for the 2009 murder of Kevin LeClair at a Walnut Grove shopping mall has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

Kreshnik Ismailaj was arrested in the summer of 2018, and today (Sept. 26) was in B.C. Supreme Court where he entered the guilty plea in the shooting death of LeClair, 26, in the Thunderbird Village shopping complex on Feb. 6, 2009.

“This guilty plea comes 10 years after the homicide of Mr. LeClair and speaks to the determination of IHIT investigators and dedication of our partners, CFSEU-BC and the B.C. Prosecution Service, to see an investigation through to the end no matter how long it may take,” said Supt. Dave Chauhan, Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. “These partnerships are key to ensuring a successful conclusion to events that impact the safety of our citizens throughout the Lower Mainland from our specialized units to our frontline officers.”

Ismailaj was initially charged with one count of first-degree murder mid-2018 when apprehended in Ontario. The courts have yet to impose sentencing for his role in the murder of LeClair, an Abbotsford resident.

“Kreshnik Ismailaj, along with a number of his fellow gang members, are responsible for an unprecedented level of gang violence in the history of British Columbia. The hundreds of officers and support staff, from dozens of police agencies and units, working the associated investigations have remained determined and committed over the years to ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Supt. Paul Dadwal, CFSEU-BC Operations Officer. “With this latest conviction and sentencing, it should, yet again, send the message to individuals involved in organized crime-related violence that police will relentlessly pursue justice, regardless of how long it takes.”

READ MORE: New charge in 2009 Langley gang murder

LeClair was gunned down in the early evening in front of numerous witnesses one of the brazen public shootings of the gang war between rival drug dealing organizations in 2008 and 2009.

Cory Vallee, a UN gang member, was convicted of first-degree murder last year in the death of LeClair, a member of the Red Scorpions gang. He was sentenced to life in prison in late 2018.

Vallee, 34 at the time of LeClair’s murder, had been hired as an assassin by the UN Gang as part of the violent drug turf war that raged through 2008 and ’09 in the Lower Mainland.

The UN Gang had targeted Jonathan, Jamie, and Jarrod Bacon – the Bacon Brothers – and their allies and associates in the Red Scorpions Gang, including LeClair. The Bacons and LeClair lived in Abbotsford at the time of the murder plot.

Formerly a bus driver in Whistler and a garbage collector in North Vancouver, Vallee had become involved with the UN Gang by early 2008, stalking and gathering intelligence on the gang’s enemies, according to Justice Janice Dillon’s sentencing ruling.

He was eventually fired from his job with North Vancouver after repeatedly failing to show up for work, as his hunt for rival gangsters consumed more of his time.

On the day of LeClair’s killing, Vallee stalked his victim all day and lay in wait for him outside a restaurant in the shopping plaza.

“Vallee had lots of time to pull back from the plan to kill as he waited in the parking lot of the mall for Leclair to come out of the restaurant. That he did not pull back is a chilling reminder of the capacity for violence in this man,” wrote Dillon in her sentencing ruling.

After the killing, he fled to Mexico but was extradicted to Canada in 2014.

The judge sentenced him to a second, concurrent term of life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

There is a $100,000 reward for the arrest of another person wanted in connection with the murder, Conor D’Monte.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre

Temporary shelter set up in April to help stop the spread of COVID-19

Surrey student earns TD Community Leadership scholarship

Harjot Bal recognized for his One Blood For Life Foundation

Suspect sought in alleged indecent act in South Surrey

Police say incident occurred near 13 Avenue and 131 Street

New Serpentine rail bridge completed in Cloverdale-Sullivan

$3 million crossing replacement marks first of 13 flood-mitigation projects

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Most Read