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Two Hells Angels charged in Kelowna killing

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Kelowna dad Dain Phillips would have done anything for his three sons and grandchildren.

So when his two youngest told him about an ongoing dispute with two brothers they had known in high school, he stepped in to resolve it peacefully.

Instead, Phillips was fatally beaten with hammers and baseball bats on a Kelowna roadside June 12.

Now two full-patch Hells Angels and five others have been charged with killing Phillips, 51.

The counts against Norman Cocks, 31, and Robert Thomas, 46, are the first accusing patch-wearing Angels of murder in the 28-year history of the biker gang in B.C.

Also charged is Cocks’ dad, Robert, the 52-year-old president of the Hells Angels puppet club, the Throttle Lockers.

Six of the seven accused killers, including both Cocks senior and junior, brothers Daniel and Matthew McRae, Anson Schell and Thomas Vaughan – appeared in Kelowna Provincial Court Monday and were remanded in custody until July 21.

Thomas has not yet been arrested, according to the online court database.

Phillips, 51, was attacked about 7 p.m. June 12 near the intersection of McCurdy and Gibson roads in Kelowna after he had agreed to meet some people connected to the feud with his sons.

Several men armed with hammers, baseball bats and other items arrived in two other vehicles and started striking Phillips.

Critically wounded and left unconscious in a pool of his blood, Phillips died later in hospital.

Kelowna RCMP Sgt. Anne Morrison confirmed after his death that Phillips did not provoke the attack nor did he engage in the altercation.

Two of the suspects charged in the death, brothers Daniel McRae, 21, and Matthew McRae, 19, attended Rutland secondary with Phillips’s two youngest sons who are in their early 20s.

The pairs of brothers had exchanged heated words on a few occasions at a popular local party spot called Postill Lake.

After one of the exchanges, the Phillips brothers were allegedly threatened.

When their father heard about the threats, he wanted to sort the matter out and agreed to the meeting that would cost him his life, according to information obtained by the Sun.

Police in Kelowna were not commenting on the charges Monday, though they are expected to hold a news conference today.

Phillips lived on a disability pension with his wife and toddler 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 Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff in Lethbridge.

The Hells Angels started its Kelowna chapter in 2007. The gang now has several puppet clubs operating in Kelowna and surrounding areas, including the Throttle Lockers and King Pins.

Hells Angels members in B.C. have been charged and convicted in drug cases and of extortion and assault, but have never been charged with murder until now.

Norman Cocks has no criminal record in B.C., according to the court database online. His dad, Robert, was charged in 100 Mile House in 2008 with possessing a weapon without authorization and is due back in court in that case July 12.

Daniel McRae was convicted last November of damaging property and fined $500. He, his brother Matthew and Schell, 19, were all charged with assault in connection with an incident on June 27, 2010 and are still before the courts in that case. Their next appearance is Dec. 6, 2011.

Vaughan, 22, has no criminal history.

Thomas was convicted in 2006 with possession of stolen property and possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition. He got four months in jail and a lifetime firearms prohibition.

A service for Phillips was held on June 18, at the Heartland Ranch in Kelowna.

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.”

 

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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