Colton Steinhauer, 27, has been found guilty of two counts of first degree murder in the killing of two Mac’s store clerks in Edmonton on Dec. 18, 2015.
Colton Steinhauer has been convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the deaths of two convenience store clerks three years ago.The 30-year-old was impassive in the prisoner box as the jury delivered its verdict convicting him of two counts of first-degree murder Friday morning. The jury was sequestered for its deliberations Thursday afternoon and took nearly eight hours to reach a verdict.Steinhauer was one of three males who robbed a pair of Mac’s stores in Edmonton on Dec. 18, 2015.Steinhauer carried a machete and a bag into the 82 Street store, which the trio filled with cash and cigarettes. On their way out, Laylin Delorme shot the clerk, Karanpal Bhangu.They then travelled to another store, where the gun changed hands and Steinhauer shot clerk Ricky Cenabre once over the counter, killing him.After the robberies, the three got McDonalds takeout and were eating in the Honda Element they were driving when a police officer noticed the distinctive bomber-style jacket Steinhauer was wearing from security footage. They led police on a high-speed chase that ended when the vehicle crashed on Whitemud Drive under the Terwillegar overpass.Steinhauer’s was the last of the three so-called Mac’s killing cases to make its way through the court system.The Crown said there was strong circumstantial evidence to prove Steinhauer and Delorme intended to kill the clerks. Steinhauer earlier offered pleas to manslaughter and second-degree murder but was denied by the Crown.
Ricky Massin Cenabre, pictured with his son John Cedric Cenabre and fiancé Editha Alcazaren-Cenabre, prior to his departure from the Philippines for Canada, where he was shot and killed while working in an Edmonton convenience store on Dec. 18, 2015.
Paige Parsons /
Steinhauer’s defence argued the Crown’s case was entirely circumstantial, and that there was no direct evidence proving the killings were planned.The sentence in Canada for first-degree murder is life in prison, with no parole eligibility for 25 years. In cases of multiple first-degree murders, jurors are able to recommend whether those ineligibility periods be served back-to-back or at the same time, though it is ultimately the judge’s decision to make. Six jurors recommended the parole eligibility be served consecutively, three concurrently. The remaining three made no recommendation.Anna Konye, Steinhauer’s lawyer, requested a Gladue report on Steinhauer’s Indigenous background prior to sentencing. Gladue reports consider systemic factors, such as intergenerational trauma from residential schools, that might have played a role in an Indigenous person’s criminal behaviour.Justice Ken Nielsen thanked the jury, saying they had “represented the people of Canada in a most important civic duty.”The jury system “helps to keep the law in touch with the attitudes and beliefs of the community,” he said.Delorme was also found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder after a jury trial that ended last June. Justice Robert Graesser declined to set parole eligibility at 50 years, saying 25-year parole eligibility offered the then 27-year-old at least “some hope.”The youth, who was 13 years old at the time and cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter last year.Crown prosecutor John Watson said the Cenabre family, some of whom are now in the Philippines, have submitted victim impact statements. Bhangu’s have not.Cenabre’s family earlier told reporters he left the Philippines in 2011 to work in Canada. He hoped to obtain permanent residency and eventually bring his common-law wife and young son over to live with him. He planned to return home to marry her in April 2016.No family members were present in the courtroom Friday. Crown and defence lawyers declined to comment on the outcome of the case. Steinhauer will next be before the court in September for sentencing.— with files from Paige Parsonsjwakefield@postmedia.comtwitter.com/jonnywakefield