Sentencing hearing underway for man convicted twice in murder of Victoria resident 52-year-old Leslie Hankel

Sentencing hearing underway for man convicted twice in murder of Victoria resident 52-year-old Leslie Hankel
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WATCH: The sentencing hearing of a man convicted in the murder of a Victoria resident is underway in B.C. Supreme Court. It’s the second trial for Andrew Belcourt. In February, a jury found the 27-year old guilty in the second-degree murder of Leslie Hankel.  Mary Griffin reports.

It’s a journey they’ve made many times for more than seven years, sisters Mary Beech and Kathy Rogers, walking together into court.

“I really, truly, want to get this over with,” Rogers said.

They are sitting through the second trial of one of the two men convicted in the shooting death of their brother.  In 2010, a violent home invasion gone wrong, leading to the murder of 52-year-old Leslie Hankel.

Neighbour Melissa Craft said he was a gentle, kind man. “He’s never posed as [a] threat to anyone. He’s just a calm, quiet old man. He just kept to himself, minded his own business did his own trip that’s it,” Craft said.

Living alone in his ground floor apartment, two men broke in looking for drugs. Andrew Belcourt and Samuel McGrath believed they’d find a large stash of marijuana. They assaulted Hankel and Belcourt shot him in the head. A jury convicted Belcourt and McGrath in 2012. McGrath is now serving time for manslaughter. Belcourt successfully appealed his conviction, but in February a jury again found him guilty second-degreee murder.

Today, Rogers is concerned about the length of time it’s taken.  “I’m worried that we keep this too long, it could stop the whole process and justice won’t be served. Because we’ve seen that in the news several times where they’ve taken too long, and they’ve let this person go,” Rogers said.

Despite the challenges, the sisters won’t stop coming to court until the judge sentences their brother’s killer.

“We’ve been through a lot, health, and we had one member commit suicide. Yeah, it’s been pretty hard,” Rogers said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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