Armed officers respond to the scene of a home invasion in South Surrey in November 2013.

Armed officers respond to the scene of a home invasion in South Surrey in November 2013.

Murder charges dropped in South Surrey home-invasion

Accused in death of 44-year-old Corey Bennett pleads guilty to manslaughter.

A lack of “good evidence” in the case against two men charged in the home-invasion death of Corey Bennett two years ago in South Surrey has resulted in one pleading guilty to a lesser offence, and charges against the other being abandoned.

“It just really was a reassessment of the evidence that we have,” prosecutor David Simpkin explained this week of the evolution of charges against Donald James Chad Jr. to manslaughter from murder. “This isn’t something that happened overnight.”

Chad was facing trial for murder in B.C. Supreme Court in connection with Bennett’s November 2013 death.

Bennett, 44, was pronounced dead in hospital following a late-night incident that police described as a “targeted home invasion” at a house in the 2600-block of King George Boulevard.

Chad and co-accused Mathieu Rene Bernard were arrested about two weeks later; Bernard was charged with manslaughter.

Both men were also charged with “where a firearm is used in the commission.”

Simpkin said the charges against Bernard were stayed outright “a couple months ago.”

Chad, who has been in custody since his arrest, pleaded guilty to manslaughter using a firearm – along with a second firearm offence – on Aug. 21.

As a result of the plea, the murder charge against Chad was stayed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster last week.

Simpkin said both police and Bennett’s family were involved in the decision, which he described as “the right thing to do.”

Sentencing submissions are to be heard Nov. 10 in Surrey Provincial Court.

 

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