VANCOUVER - Two members of the Hells Angels have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the beating death of a man in Kelowna.
Norman Cocks and Robert Thomas have been sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court for the June 2011 murder of Dain Phillips.
They were charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter - the first such conviction in the province of full-patch members of the biker gang.
With time served, the men from the Kelowna chapter of the Hells Angels are expected to spend about 12 years behind bars.
Fifty-one-year-old Phillips was beaten with a hammer and a baseball bat when he tried to resolve a dispute between his two sons and some old high school acquaintances.
Cocks and Thomas were among seven people originally charged with the murder and while a charge against one person was later stayed, the trial for four other men is currently underway.
Supt. Nick Romanchuck, officer in charge of the Kelowna RCMP detachment, said that although the matter is still before the courts, he hopes the guilty pleas will bring some measure of closure for those who cared about Phillips.
Chief Supt. Dan Malo, the chief officer for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., said organized crime groups are a threat to public safety and that securing the first-time conviction of the full-patch Hells Angels took up a huge amount of police resources.
"Previous investigations and convictions have made it clear that members of the Hells Angels are involved in drugs, weapons, and violence-related offences."