This photo of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo was taken on a recent birthday, not far from where he was found with fatal wounds in August 2019. A verdict is to be rendered May 18, 2021 in the trial of those accused of killing him. (Cory Brideau photo)

May 18 verdict for youth accused of fatally stabbing South Surrey mechanic

Paul Prestbakmo died on Aug. 16, 2019

A verdict in the case of two youth accused of killing South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo is to be rendered on May 18.

B.C. Prosecution Service officials confirmed the date for the decision was set Wednesday (March 24), during a brief appearance in Surrey Provincial Court. It follows a trial that began in January and wrapped up on March 8.

READ MORE: Trial underway in 2019 murder of South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo

Over the course of the proceedings, Judge Robert Hamilton heard that Prestbakmo, 45, died just before 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2019, after being stabbed 42 times during an altercation in a commercial parking lot at the southwest corner of 18 Avenue and 152 Street.

Prestbakmo had stepped outside to take out some rotting garbage and have a cigarette.

Multiple witnesses – including youth, experts and police – gave evidence, including that Prestbakmo was stabbed in the chest, abdomen, back, neck and left arm during the attack, and, that it occurred just a few hours after a White Rock senior suffered injuries consistent with an assault.

Charges of second-degree murder were announced against two youth – aged 15 and 16 at the time – a month after Prestbakmo’s death. Charges of aggravated assault in connection with the senior’s injuries were announced against the same teens a month after that, in October 2019.

Due to their ages, the identities of the accused are protected by a publication ban.

During closing submissions, Crown counsel described the stabbing of Prestbakmo as “intense and ferocious,” and said those who inflicted the wounds knew that they could cause death, or injuries that could lead to death. The accused, said Louise Kenworthy, were co-perpetrators in both incidents and should be held equally responsible.

READ MORE: ‘Intense, ferocious’ attack on South Surrey mechanic shows intent to kill: Crown

Defence counsel submitted that evidence did not prove who inflicted the wounds that caused Prestbakmo’s death and that the one accused who confessed to the crime – claiming it was gang-related – was simply not believable.

Kevin Westell told Hamilton that his clients “conflicting, fantastical” statements as to why he and another teen attacked Prestbakmo “should cause your honour to really pause before accepting any of the evidence that comes out of my client’s mouth.”

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