Crown seeks life sentence with no parole for 22 years for 2 men convicted in Duggan hall killing

Hamza Mohamed, 22, was killed in August 2021 during a social event held at a southside community hall. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)
Hamza Mohamed, 22, was killed in August 2021 during a social event held at a southside community hall. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)

A compassionate, humorous young man with his whole life ahead of him.

That's how friends and family described Hamza Mohamed in victim impact statements read before the Court of King's Bench on Wednesday. The 22-year-old was shot to death nearly three years ago during a Jamaican community event at the Duggan Community Hall near 37th Avenue and 106th Street.

Six other men were injured in the shooting.

"Hamza was a charismatic, gentle, and a kind soul who was bursting with goals and aspirations," his cousin, Naima Hussein, said in a victim impact statement read before court.

"Unfortunately, none of those goals he had for the future came to fruition because his life was cut short."

A jury found Abdullahi Yalahow and Christopher Wilson guilty of second-degree murder last November.

The pair were also convicted of possessing a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm for which they did not have an authorization, licence or registration certificate.

Yalahow was also found guilty of intentional or reckless discharge of a firearm.

Court heard Mohamed was initially shot by another person in the early hours of August 29, 2021.

Yalahow then fired once at Mohamed but a second shot was stopped when a security guard swatted away the gun. Mohamed pulled out his own handgun and shot Yalahow.

Wilson approached Mohamed from behind then punched and disarmed him.

Yalahow shouted "hit him, grease him" and Wilson then fired multiple rounds into the victim's head.

'Exemplary sentences'

"Even among murders, the brazenness and brutality that characterized this murder is rare," Crown prosecutor Thomas O'Leary said Wednesday.

"The circumstances of this case cry out for exemplary sentences."

A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years. Jurors recommended a parole eligibility between 20 to 25 years.

The Crown is seeking that both Yalahow and Wilson only become eligible for parole after serving 22 years.

Zachary Al-Kitab, Yalahow's defence lawyer, argued that the circumstances of Yalahow's difficult upbringing, including being separated from his parents in Somalia as the country was in the throes of civil war and growing up in poverty, be considered in sentencing.

"Unfortunately, we see these kinds of adverse circumstances give rise to the criminal record before you," he said, seeking parole eligibility after 14 years.

Justice Paul Belzil denied an application from Al-Kitab for an enhanced pre-sentence report for Yalahow, saying the request came too late and would cause delays.

Yalahow declined to address the court.

Wilson addresses court

Matthew Ackerman, representation for Wilson, said intoxication must be considered in some of his client's conduct.

After shooting Mohamed, Wilson is captured on video repeatedly striking him.

Wilson addressed the court at length, challenging the Crown's assertions, insisting on his honesty, and contending he was too drunk to have had any recollection of the night's events.

"I did what I did to save my friend's life. I cannot explain the pure brutality that followed," he said.

Wilson also apologized to the victim's family.

"I know it doesn't do nothing. I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, all the trauma I've put you through.

"These may sound just like words to you but I assure you they come from the heart."

Ackerman is seeking parole eligibility after 15 years for his client.

A sentencing decision is expected Friday.