'Guilty, guilty, guilty': Jury convicts pair of murder and other charges in Calgary quadruple killing

Two people have been found guilty of murder and other offences in connection with the fatal torture death of one victim and the killings of three witnesses.

Jurors reached their decision following three full days of deliberations, typically working from 9 a.m. to about 9 p.m.

Tewodros Kebede, 27, and Yu Chieh Liao, 27, were on trial on charges of first-degree murder in the kidnapping and torture death of Hanock Afowerk. 

The two were also charged with accessory after the fact to murder in connection with the deaths of Cody Pfeiffer, 25, and sisters Tiffany Ear, 39, and Glynnis Fox, 36, whose bodies were discovered in a burnt-out vehicle after they'd been fatally shot.

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"They were young, all of them," said Cynthia Hunter, aunt to Fox and Ear.

"To hear the guilty, guilty, guilty – I'm happy but yet I'm broken-hearted because it's not going to bring my nieces back."

Afowerk, 26, was a petty criminal who made fake identification and was killed in July 2017. 

The other three victims were killed in order to "eliminate witnesses" in the hours after Afowerk's murder, the prosecutors told jurors over the course of the six-week trial.

"We have seen the horror that human beings can inflict upon one another," prosecutor Brian Holtby said in his closing arguments.

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Liao was convicted of accessory after the fact in the deaths of all three, while Kebede was convicted on the same charge but only in connection with Pfeiffer's killing.

Key Crown evidence included cellphone data placing the two accused in key locations connected to the victims, murders and the site of where the bodies were dumped.

But defence lawyers — Susan Karpa for Liao and Jeinis Patel for Kebede — argued the Crown had not proven when and where Afowerk was killed.

They argue cellphone evidence that put the accused at key locations cannot be trusted and that there was no evidence from the autobody shop where it's believed Afowerk was killed.

On July 9, 2017, the day before the first three bodies were discovered, Liao met with Afowerk, who planned to sell her false identification, according to the Crown.

After that meeting, prosecutors say, Afowerk was kidnapped by several people, including Kebede and Liao, and held for ransom. 

On July 10, 2017, the first three victims — Pfeiffer, Fox and Ear — were found dead in a burnt-out car in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood of Sage Hill.

Afowerk, who owned the vehicle, was found dead two days later by cyclists west of Calgary where Highway 22 and Highway 8 meet.

Facebook/Megan Snell/Calgary Police Service

Holtby told the jury that Afowerk was kidnapped, tortured and killed not only for money but also because the killers may have enjoyed inflicting pain on their victim. 

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Blair Nixon will hear sentencing arguments at a later date.