Lengthy prison terms handed to two men in shooting death of aspiring Calgary rapper

Eriq Mvemba was killed while sleeping in a friend’s apartment in 2017. Submitted

The fatal shooting of a budding rapper during what may have been a botched robbery has landed two Calgary men lengthy prison terms.

Justice Robert Hall sentenced Shannoh Jabet to 11 years and Mourad Gasmi to nine years for the Oct. 28, 2017, shooting death of Eric Mvemba inside a southeast Calgary home.

Each will have their terms reduced by 3½ years for pre-trial credit.

Both killers apologized to members of Mvemba’s family, sitting in the courtroom gallery, before they were sentenced.

Among those present was Mvemba’s father, Paulino, who earlier raced crying from the courtroom as Crown prosecutor Vicki Faulkner read his victim impact statement.

“Eric was always there for his family, friends, colleague and strangers,” the elder Mvemba wrote.

“Eric did not deserve to die in that manner,” he said. “I could not imagine that my son Eric was gone at such a young age.”

At that point, the still-grieving father jumped up from his courtroom seat and rushed out, audibly sobbing.

Faulkner continued reading the statement before Hall.

“Thoughts of Eric’s death continue to be traumatizing,” the dad wrote. “We are devastated by Eric’s death and will never be able to recover.”

Faulkner and co-prosecutor Matt Block had sought a sentenced for Gasmi in the range of 12 to 15 years and for Jabet of 15 to 18 years.

Block said even though Gasmi held the shotgun which killed Mvemba, who went by the stage name Yayopenza, it was Jabet who supplied the loaded weapon.

He also noted Jabet had a prior manslaughter conviction, having been released from custody only months before the killing of Mvemba.

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Hall earlier acquitted the two men of first-degree murder, ruling he could not find the pair had gone to the Dover residence of Jeoffrey Balimaka with the intent to kill him.

Balimaka was not home during the early morning incident and Mvemba was staying at his residence because they were planning on travelling to Edmonton that day for a concert.

In his decision, Hall also said he couldn’t rule out the possibility Gasmi accidentally pulled the trigger.

He also said he could not dismiss the defence theory the two men went to Balimaka’s home to commit a robbery.

Gasmi’s lawyer, Allan Fay, agreed with the Crown his client deserved a lesser sentence than Jabet, whose lawyer, Andrea Serink, suggested should be in the range of eight to 10 years.

Before Hall’s decision, both Jabet and Gasmi spoke directly to Mvemba’s relatives.

“I just want to say I’m sorry my actions contributed to you losing a son, brother and father,” Jabet said.

Added Gasmi: “Whatever happened that night, I take responsibility for it. I never meant to kill anybody.”

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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