Man convicted in murder of teen outside Calgary nightclub eligible for earlier parole

Lukas Strasser-Hird was swarmed, brutally beaten and fatally stabbed in the alleyway behind the Vinyl Nightclub in Calgary's Beltline in 2013. (supplied)

One of four men convicted in connection with the swarming, beating and fatal stabbing of Lukas Strasser-Hird in Calgary's Beltline in 2013 has successfully appealed the parole eligibility of his sentence.

Franz Emir Cabrera and Assmar Ryiad Shlah were both found guilty of second-degree murder in 2016 for their roles in the death of 18-year-old Strasser-Hird in the alleyway behind Vinyl Nightclub on Nov. 23, 2013.

Both Cabrera and Shlah were sentenced to life in prison with Cabrera ineligible for parole for 15 years and Shlad ineligible for 12 years.

Cabrera filed an appeal of the parole ineligibility aspect of his sentence, claiming the variance between his and Shlah's was unreasonable given the fact neither had criminal records.

The trial judge concluded that Cabrera had been a "central part of the mob assault" who "used his car keys as a weapon" while Shlah had "struck multiple blows by kicking and punching."

An autopsy attributed Strasser-Hird's death to three stab wounds to his chest and vital organs. Nathan Gervais was found guilty of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing the teen.

Joch Pouk was convicted of manslaughter in connection with Strasser-Hird's death.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal of Alberta found Cabrera's use of car keys as a weapon in the assault, relative to Shlah kicking the victim in the head and torso, did not warrant the additional three years of parole ineligibility.  

The Court of Appeal of Alberta allowed the appeal and Cabrera will now be eligible after serving 12 years of his sentence.

The members of the appeal board took note of the fact neither of the two men convicted of second-degree murder had criminal records and, in their decision, seized the opportunity to champion the character of the victim.

"We have noted that prior to this event, the appellant and Shlah were young men of unblemished character. We would be remiss if we did not note that the victim, Lukas Strasser-Hird, was a young man of real character and great promise as indicated in the victim impact statements.

"It will be remembered that this senseless crime began because he admonished others for using a racial slur. His killing was a tremendous loss not only to his family but the entire community."