Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hearing begins in fatal Sals shooting

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Bullet holes are seen in the window of the Salisbury House restaurant.


Bullet holes are seen in the window of the Salisbury House restaurant.

A preliminary hearing is underway for a man accused in a brazen shooting at a Salisbury House restaurant that claimed the life of Jeffrey Lau and seriously wounded another man.

Devin Hall, 27, is charged with first-degree murder for Lau's death in a Sept. 27, 2012 early-morning shooting attack at the Sal's near Pembina Highway and Stafford Street.

He also faces attempted murder and weapons-related allegations. Hall is presumed innocent.

The preliminary hearing in provincial court allows defence lawyer Martin Glazer an opportunity to test the Crown's evidence against Hall and have a judge rule whether there's enough to send the case to a jury trial in the Court of Queen's Bench.

A publication ban is mandatory. If ultimately convicted, Hall faces a mandatory life sentence without a chance at parole for 25 years.

A gunman shot two men inside the restaurant at about 3 a.m. Both were rushed to hospital. Lau, 23, later died. The second man was listed at the time in stable condition. A handgun was found on the street at Hector Avenue and Stafford Street, several blocks from the restaurant.

Just after the shooting, then-police-chief Keith McCaskill said investigators believed it was a targeted event.

Lau's mother, Cathie Lau, previously told the Free Press she believes her son was first marked for death in July 2012 when he and another friend -- one who would also be with him the night he was killed -- were run down by a hit-and-run driver in the parking lot of an Osborne Village-area hotel.

Lau suffered head and hand injuries, was initially listed in critical condition but survived.

Hall wasn't arrested for Lau's death until February 2013. Court records show he was convicted of a drug offence last fall and handed a three-year prison term.

-- with Free Press files

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