Two full-patch members of the Hells Angels have admitted their role in the brutal beating that left Kelowna family man Dain Phillips dead in June 2011.
Norman Cocks and Robert Thomas, both with the Kelowna chapter of the biker gang, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Thursday before Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen.
The pair had originally been charged with second-degree murder, but agreed to a plea on the lesser charge.
Each stood up in the prisoner's box Thursday morning to plead not guilty to murder, but guilty to "the included offence of manslaughter."
They will be sentenced at the Vancouver Law Courts next Wednesday.
Crown lawyer Joe Bellows told Cullen that a joint submission would be made by the prosecution and defence at the sentencing.
"The Crown will be alleging a record with respect to Mr. Thomas," Bellows said. "There will be no criminal record to allege with respect to Mr. Cocks."
The case is believed to be the first in B.C. in which patch-wearing Hells Angels have been convicted of killing someone.
Phillips, 51, tried to resolve a dispute his two youngest sons had with some old high school
He agreed to attend a meeting on McCurdy Road about 7 p.m. on June 12.
Instead of a discussion to resolve the dispute, he was attacked by a group of people who arrived in two vehicles and beat him with hammers and baseball bats.
Cocks, 33, and Thomas, 49, were among seven people originally charged with murder in Phillips' death.
The charge against one of the accused, Thomas Vaughan, was later stayed.
Four others - Cocks' father, Robert, the president of the Throttle Lockers biker gang, brothers Daniel and Matt McRae and Anson Schell - are due to go to trial beginning next week.
Robert Cocks, who remains on bail, was in court with his lawyer to watch his son plead guilty.
Outside the courtroom, lawyer Joe Doyle, who represents the younger Cocks, noted both his client and Thomas were acquitted of the more serious murder charge.
He declined to comment on the plea agreement, saying "details of that will be set out in court on Wednesday."
Both Cocks and Thomas have been in custody since their arrest in July 2011.
Doyle said his client is expected to get 2.5 years' credit at straight time for his pretrial custody.
Thomas' lawyer, Greg delBigio, declined to comment after the brief appearance.
He told Cullen that his client was ill Thursday and asked that he be transported back to pretrial as soon as possible after the proceedings.
Both men wore red prison garb to court.
No members of Phillips' family were in the courtroom, although several sheriffs, police officers and reporters were present for the brief appearance.
After the beating, Phillips was left at the side of the road, critically wounded and unconscious in a pool of his blood. He died later in hospital.
Phillips, a father of three sons and a grandfather, lived on a disability pension with his wife and young grandson. He had no criminal history.
At 6'3", Phillips was a right winger in the Western Hockey League from 1978 to 1980, playing with goaltender Kelly Hrudey in Medicine Hat and Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff in Lethbridge.
In his obituary, Phillips was remembered as "a hard-working man with a lust for life."
"He was a family man in every sense of the term. Dad served his family with all of his huge heart up until the minute he died," said the obit, published in The Sun and Province.
"His legacy is his sons and the values he instilled in them, and the heart he taught everyone around him to live their lives with. He will be longingly missed by all and forever be in our hearts."
- Vancouver Sun