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Trial avoided with guilty plea

Thursday morning, in a Victoria courtroom, Darcy Kozak of Campbell River pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. He was facing three counts of first-degree murder.

With the guilty pleas, a three-month trial was avoided in B.C. Supreme Court. The 40-year-old is in custody in Victoria and returns to court Monday (Sept. 10) for sentencing.

Second-degree murder carries a life sentence and Kozak pleaded guilty to two counts in the deaths of Kenneth Robinson of Nanaimo and Kenneth Allan Leask of Powell River. He also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Luc Dulude of Campbell River.

Robinson, 45, lived on the streets of Nanaimo and went missing, along with his dog Angel, in May 2007. His badly decomposed body was discovered by hikers in a wooded area of Shawnigan Lake in August 2007.

In December 2008, Dulude’s body was found in an abandoned commercial building in the Willow Point area of Campbell River.

During the police investigation, RCMP described Kozak as a person of interest in connection with Dulude’s death. The investigation also revealed that Kozak had killed Leask whose body was never found.

Dulude was a career criminal who was believed to have met Kozak during a prison stint. Dulude moved to Campbell River from Kamloops in August 2008 after being released from prison following his sixth robbery conviction.

Court records show that Dulude spent time behind bars almost continuously since 1987. Most of his crimes were linked to his addiction to cocaine.

Kozak was also a heavy cocaine user who had an acrimonious relationship with Janice Bridges of Campbell River. She is the widow of businessman Ron Bridges who died suddenly in 2004, leaving her and their children with a multi-million-dollar inheritance.

The empty building where Dulude’s body was found was owned by one of Janice Bridges’ companies. The building was later demolished and the Bridges’ oceanfront home, located less than a kilometre south of the crime scene, was thoroughly searched by police after Dulude’s body was found.

The troubled relationship between Kozak and Bridges became public knowledge in June 2009, during a sentencing hearing in Campbell River provincial court.

At the time, Kozak was a murder suspect, but he was in court to plead guilty to two counts of physically assaulting Bridges, threatening her and also punching her brother.

In the early morning of Dec. 19, 2008, one week after Dulude’s body was discovered, Kozak was found in a Campbell River motel room in possession of a loaded handgun.

He was arrested, charged with weapons offences and later served 30 days in jail after coming up with a plea agreement.

By then Kozak was already well known to police.

In November 2006, in Campbell River, Kozak was speeding on an all-terrain vehicle when he took off from police. The chase ended with the officer and Kozak using pepper spray on each other.

In June 2007, Kozak led police on a wild vehicle chase near Victoria which resulted in eight accidents. As a result of that incident, he pleaded guilty to several charges and received a year in jail, but was given credit for pre-trial custody.

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