Accusations that a young man was abusive to his former girlfriend led to a swarming attack and fatal stabbing of a Burnaby teen in Whistler, a prosecutor said Monday.
The background to the tragedy that claimed the life of 19-year-old Luka Gordic of Burnaby was outlined by the prosecution during their opening statement at the trial of three young men charged in the May 2015 slaying.
Crown counsel Julie Robinson told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terence Schultes that it was seen as a tradition for high school graduates and their friends from the Burnaby area to visit the ski resort on the May long weekend.
Gordic had gone to Whistler earlier in the day, and with some friends had run into another group of young men who he believed knew one of the males now accused in the attack, said Robinson. The victim told one of the group that it was known the accused in question, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, was abusive to his ex-girlfriend, she said. Gordic said the accused should stop treating her in that fashion, prompting a phone call later from the accused, who was angry and was of the view that Gordic wanted to confront him, said Robinson.
The prosecutor said Gordic denied he had any intention to have a fight, but the accused was not mollified and it was ultimately agreed that the two men would meet at the Olympic Rings monument: "There would seem to have been at the very least a prospect of a fight between (the two)."
Gordic rounded up a number of friends and acquaintances, and went to the Olympic Rings, but the accused did not show up; but others from his group did, said Robinson. The victim then went to a residence, where there were more angry phone calls from the accused who wanted to meet Gordic, who said he didn't want to see him and was having a good time at Whistler, and wanted nothing further to do with the matter, she said.
Gordic continued to enjoy his weekend and interacted with various people through the evening, including going to a 7-Eleven just before the attack. After leaving the store, he was "set upon" by a group estimated in size from eight to 15 young males, said the Crown. "But it was more than sufficient in number to make it impossible for him to defend himself," said Robinson. "Shortly after the attack, Luka Gordic fell to the ground bleeding profusely."
The attack was brief, lasting possibly no more than 30 seconds, said Robinson.
One eyewitness in a nearby hotel overheard an accused say, 'There you are, you little bitch, you thought we wouldn't find you," just before the attack, she said.
Shortly after the attack, descriptions of the attackers were broadcast by police, who saw the three accused on a trail near the scene of the crime headed in the direction of Highway 99, said Robinson. Clothing seized from all three accused had apparent bloodstains, said the prosecutor. DNA from Gordic was found on those items of clothing, she said. A knife with Gordic's DNA was seized from the pocket of one of the accused, added the prosecutor. DNA from one of the accused was detected on a second knife found at the scene of the attack, she said.
Gordic, who suffered three stab wounds, one of them penetrating his heart, died soon after the attack.
One of the accused on trial pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder. The other two pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. Under young-offender laws they cannot be named because they were younger than 18 at the time of the attack.
Dozens of supporters of Gordic, including his father and other family members, packed into the courtroom. Many were wearing black T-shirts and buttons that said, "Justice For Luka."
At the end of the day's testimony, the judge ordered that the supporters of the victim not wear the T-shirts commemorating the victim in the courtroom.
"It's not appropriate to be worn in the courtroom."
Outside court, Mike Gordic, an uncle of Luka Gordic, said it "meant a lot" to have the huge turnout in support of his nephew.
He said the T-shirts were created at the beginning, when Luka was killed, and in support of an online petition but added he respected the judge's order to have them not be worn in the courtroom.