Jeffry Todd Taylor and Leanne MacFarlane. File photo

Jeffry Todd Taylor and Leanne MacFarlane. File photo

2 men found not guilty in mistaken identity slaying of B.C. couple 10 years ago

Two men charged with murder have been found not guilty in the case of an alleged targeted hit on a rival gang member that instead left an innocent couple dead outside Cranbrook a decade ago.

Gasps coursed through the public gallery as Justice Arne Silverman read an executive summary of his decision in Vancouver Supreme Court, noting that he found reasonable doubt in the Crown’s case.

“I am not satisfied that the two accused persons are innocent. However, I am also not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty,” said Justice Silverman.

Colin Raymond Correia and Sheldon Joseph Hunter were charged with first degree murder in a double-homicide that occurred outside Cranbrook in 2010.

The crown theorized it was intended to be a targeted gang hit on a rival gang member that instead killed Leanne Laura MacFarlane and Jeffrey Todd Taylor on May 29, 2010, who were living in the home in a rural area east of Cranbrook at the time.

Eight years later, both Correia and Hunter were arrested a day apart in Edmonton and Drumheller, respectively, before prosecutors announced murder charges on June 11, 2018.

The trial took 150 days of court time, starting with voir dires on evidence in September 2019, with intent to begin proceedings in April 2020. However, pandemic-related delays pushed the start of the trial to September 2020, while closing arguments were made in December.

Correia and Hunter did not testify in their defence.

More to come