Three Vernon members of a notorious criminal organization have lost appeals of their convictions.
Leslie Podolski, Sheldon Richard O’Donnell and Pete Manolakos – members of a gang referred to by police as The Greeks – are three of five men convicted by a jury of various counts in the homicides of three men in or around Vernon between July 2004 and May 31, 2005.
The appeals were dismissed Wednesday.
“The reasons for judgment are of the court, and are signed,” states a release on the B.C. Court of Appeal website. “However, there is a publication ban in place issued by the trial judge, Mr. Justice Smart, in respect of information identifying certain witnesses. That ban was issued under s. 486.5 of the Criminal Code. The publication ban means that the full reasons for judgment must be sealed and only a redacted version complying with the ban may be released to the public.”
There will be a brief administrative hearing with counsel and a judge of the division to canvass the redactions required to allow for public release of reasons for judgment that comply with the terms of the publication ban.
The trio, along with two other men, were found guilty in connection with the deaths of David Marnuik, Ronald Thom and Thomas Bryce. Their trial began in May 2011 and was one of the longest jury trials in B.C. law history, involving 25 lawyers and more than 100 Crown witnesses before the jury.
O’Donnell was found guilty on one count of first degree murder and two counts of second degree murder. Podolski was found guilty of one count of first degree murder and Manolakos was found guilty of one count of first degree murder and one count of manslaughter.
All three are serving life sentences.