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Guilty verdicts delivered in 2015 killing of Luka Gordic

Last Updated Dec 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm PDT

Luka Gordic, 19, died May 17th, 2015 in Whistler. (Courtesy Facebook)

Two men have been found guilty of manslaughter and another man guilty of second degree murder in Gordic killing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The family of Luka Gordic is calling for the toughest punishment for three young men who have now been found guilty over his death at Whistler more than two years ago.

Luke Gordic, 19, died after being swarmed and then fatally stabbed by a group of men at Whistler Village in May 2015. Arvin Golic, who was 18 at the time, had already been found guilty of manslaughter in June. The judge in that case said there was evidence the attack on Gordic was being plotted earlier in the day, in response to Gordic telling Golic to stop being abusive to his ex-girlfriend.

Three other young men were found guilty on Friday.

Gordic’s family and friends, as well as supporters of the accused men, packed the courtroom at 10 a.m., but the judge didn’t deliver his verdict for another eight hours.

After a lengthy explanation, Justice Terence Schultes found one young man guilty of second-degree murder and two young men guilty of manslaughter. They can’t be named because of their ages at the time of the crime.

Inside the courtroom, friends and family of Luka Gordic jumped from their seats and yelled at the killers’ supporters, saying they should go to jail too, before security intervened.

Outside court, Luka Gordic’s mother Clara said she was pleased they were found guilty, but that it wouldn’t bring her family peace.

“What can I say, what can I say. We live this everyday.

“My son’s not here anymore for nonsense. This is like complete nonsense, the stupidity I can’t believe it. They should be sentenced to death.”

Luka Gordic’s father Mitch wants a tough punishment for the young men.

“Only now sentencing, hopefully going to be even better and they’re going to many years to jail, so they won’t stab or kill another person.”

Luka Gordic’s uncle Gianni Buono says what happened to his nephew is horrific. “We’re going to make sure that we see it right through to the end and make sure they get the appropriate consequence.”

Prosecutor Hank Reiner says the Crown will apply for the young men to be sentenced as adults, because of the seriousness of the crime and because they were almost adults at the time.

“(It’s) standard when you have a murder and a manslaughter to make that application. Whether we succeed I don’t know but we’re making that application,” he says.

Reiner says the judge’s analysis was detailed, and that’s why he took about eight hours for the verdict to be delivered.

“As you can see the family are gratified, it doesn’t bring Luka back obviously but it was certainly worth waiting all day for that result.”

Evidence against and for the three youths

The youth found guilty of second degree murder had Gordic’s blood on his clothing and on a knife found in his pocket after the killing. He had put forward a defence of intoxication, saying he had no memory of any involvement in the incident because he had been drinking and taking Xanax. The defence used his intoxication as an argument that there could not have been any intent.

He also asserted that he didn’t know where the knife came from, how it got into his pocket or even how to operate it. But Justice Schultes said the gaps in the man’s memory seemed to be “highly selective”, and he did not believe his evidence about his level of intoxication.

The evidence against the first man charged with manslaughter was entirely circumstantial, including evidence of three small spots of Gordic’s DNA being found in his shoe. This DNA was not confirmed to be blood, and the defence argued there were many ways the stain could have been transferred to the shoe. He argued the closest he had come to Gordic on the night was about 10 feet away. But Justice Schultes found there were problems with his evidence. The judge also said he had trouble believing that the young man was oblivious to Golic’s anger towards Gordic earlier in the day.

The case against the third man included evidence that his DNA was detected on a knife found at the scene of the attack. The defence had argued that the pink folding knife had been passed around a group of friends drinking and smoking at a townhouse earlier that day, and that was where the accused had touched it- not during the assault. This young man argued that he certainly had not taken it to the fight. He argued a small injury to his hand was from picking at his skin, and that was also the cause of some blood on his pants. But Justice Schultes found he did not believe this man’s evidence.