Mac's clerk killer Laylin Delorme asks appeal court for new trial

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One of two men who gunned down a pair of Edmonton convenience store clerks is asking for a new trial, claiming legal errors on the part of the judge who presided over his conviction.

Laylin Delorme was convicted by a jury of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery after a trial in 2018. He is currently serving two concurrent life sentences for the murders of Ricky Cenabre and Karanpal Singh Bhangu, who worked as clerks at two separate south Edmonton Mac’s stores.

Delorme, Colton Steinhauer and a youth who was 13 at the time robbed the two stores on Dec. 18, 2015. They entered wearing masks, gloves and carrying a handgun and demanded cash, lottery tickets and cigarettes from the terrified clerks, each of whom was physically assaulted at gunpoint during the robberies.

On the way out of the first store, located in Mill Woods, Delorme turned and shot Bhangu, who fell to the floor and bled to death.

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Delorme later handed the gun to Steinhauer, who shot Cenabre while leaving a store at 109 Street and 63 Avenue.

Delorme’s case was before the Alberta Court of Appeal Tuesday for a conviction appeal. His lawyer, Sarah Rankin, argued legal errors on how jurors were instructed merited a new trial.

The appeal is “not about whether these deaths were tragic, or even if they were criminal,” Rankin said. 

Rather, the appeal deals with whether the jury was properly instructed before arriving at the first-degree murder verdict.

Rankin claimed there were also issues with Justice Robert Graesser’s charge to the jury, who she said were given “a law school exam of an instruction” on how they could convict Delorme of certain offences.

Karanpal Singh Bhangu, 35, left, and Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Cenabre were killed during armed robberies at two separate Mac’s convenience stores on Dec. 18, 2015.
Karanpal Singh Bhangu, 35, left, and Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Cenabre were killed during armed robberies at two separate Mac’s convenience stores on Dec. 18, 2015. Photo by Supplied /photos

She said it appeared the legal professionals in the courtroom themselves had difficulty understanding the jury charge.

Keith Joyce, a lawyer for the Crown, argued that there were no legal errors in Graesser’s handling of the trial and that if there were, they did not unduly impact the outcome.

He said the three killers clearly planned to commit the robberies and that the guns, masks and gloves showed they were “not acting spontaneously.” He said it “defies coincidence” that Delorme had not premeditated shooting the clerks.

Joyce concluded by saying there is no evidence the jury was led astray “by any erroneous instructions.”

Delorme observed silently from a conference room in Edmonton Institution.

Steinhauer was also convicted of first-degree murder in both killings, and like Delorme was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years (the Crown in both cases sought consecutive parole ineligibility periods, meaning both men would serve 50 years before being allowed to apply for parole).

The youth was convicted of two counts of manslaughter.

The three-judge appeal panel reserved its decision on Delorme’s appeal for a later date.

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