THUNDER BAY - The second person found guilty in the 2019 shooting death of 40-year-old Lee Chiodo has been sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment on the charge of first-degree murder, but considered an aider and abettor in the kidnapping, received a sentence of 15 years to be served concurrently.
David Hui, 51, appeared before Justice Danial Newton in a Thunder Bay Courtroom on Wednesday for sentencing.
Hui, along with 30-year-old Musab Saboon, were found guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping in April 2022 following an eight-day trial that opened on Feb. 28, 2022.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, first-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The charge of kidnapping with the use of a firearm carries a sentencing range of between five years and life imprisonment.
Saboon has since been sentenced to life imprisonment on both charges. During his sentencing, Saboon said he intends to appeal his conviction.
The Crown’s key witness, Marshall Hardy-Fox, testified to driving Hui and Saboon to a Memorial Avenue bowling alley on the night of Feb. 23, 2019 where Chiodo was confronted inside by Saboon before getting into the car. Hui and Hardy-Fox went around either side of the building.
Hardy-Fox said he then drove to the Mission Island Marsh area, during which Saboon pulled out a gun and started threatening Chiodo. They stopped at a dead end near 108th Avenue on Mission Island where Chiodo was forced out of the car.
According to Hardy-Fox’s testimony, he heard Hui and Saboon discussing what to do with Chiodo until Hui said: ‘I’ll do it,’ followed by a gunshot.
Chiodo died as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The gun used was never recovered by police.
Hardy-Fox has since pleaded guilty to charges of accessory after the fact to murder and kidnapping and has been sentenced to five years and eight months in custody.
Hui’s defense counsel George Joseph argued for a sentence of 10 years on the charge of kidnapping to be served concurrently with the sentence of life imprisonment, noting that he will not be eligible for parole until he is 76 years old.
According to Joseph, Hui had a promising professional and personal life, which included owning a nightclub and being engaged to be married.
However, in 2001 Hui suffered injuries from a motorcycle accident and became addicted to pain medication. Later, he also experienced the death of his girlfriend, which resulted in him developing depression.
“His addiction led to the loss of his business and the loss of his fiancée and the inevitable depression that followed from someone who enjoyed some status and notoriety in the community,” Joseph said.
Joseph argued that a sentence of 10 years was consistent with the offence of aiding and abetting in a kidnapping.
“In the range of the spectrum between Hardy-Fox and Saboon, Hui falls somewhere in between those two ranges,” Joseph said.
Crown attorney Rob Kozak called for a sentence of between 10 years and life imprisonment on the charge of kidnapping, saying: “the punishment should fit the crime.”
“I believe it is important to address that it is the community and context of this criminal activity would be important for the general deterrence message,” he said. “This type of crime will result in this type of punishment.”
Kozak argued that Hui was engaged in a criminal enterprise involving drugs and guns that is no longer unique in the city of Thunder Bay.
“This case and many other community concerns in Thunder Bay and elsewhere in Canada involves drugs and guns and people who are desperate and people who accumulate debts and criminals who take action on those debts,” he said.
With respect to the kidnapping charge, Kozak argued that while Saboon was the principle party behind the kidnapping, Hui was not an innocent bystander and remained involved after the gun was produced.
“All along that stage as the progress is being made, his involvement is becoming more and more serious, right to the point of murder,” Kozak said.
Justice Newton said the circumstances of the offence for which Saboon and Hui were convicted are the same, but the circumstances of the offenders are different.
But he also acknowledged the severity of the offence, calling it a “cold-blooded kidnapping and murder motivated by the drug trade.”
Hui’s past criminal record was also presented to the court and included several drug related offences and a charge of assault causing bodily harm.
Prior to sentencing, four letters of support were filed on behalf of Hui from family, former teachers, and a former romantic partner.
Justice Newton said all those who wrote to the court spoke highly of Hui and he accepts their opinions as genuine.
“He is described as patient, kind, empathic, and more than willing to go out of his way to make a positive difference in a person’s life,” Justice Newton said before quoting one of the letters that read: “’This is the David I know. It may be a juxtaposition to the Dave Hui you are asked to sentence.’”
Previous victim impact statements from Chiodo’s brother and mother were also reference by Justice Newton, who said he cannot begin to comprehend the grief and trauma the family must feel.
Ultimately, Justice Newton sentenced Hui to 15 years on the charge of kidnapping.
“I agree with Crown that the context of the kidnapping calls out for denunciation and deterrence and the separation of offenders from society,” he said.
When given the opportunity to address the court, Hui said his lawyer had already spoken for him.
Hui will also be required to submit a DNA order and is subject to a weapons prohibition for life.