A man has been acquitted of second-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death in Abbotsford of single mom Mandy Johnson of Langley.
Jason Himpfen, 43, was found not guilty Friday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster of the second-degree murder of Johnson, as well as the attempted murder of a man who cannot be named because of a publication ban.
That man, who Black Press will refer to using the pseudonym “Jim,” was the key witness at Himpfen’s trial.
Johnson, 22, was killed July 28, 2010 while she was in a vehicle on Polar Avenue in Abbotsford. She was the mother of a young daughter.
Also initially charged with manslaughter in relation to Johnson’s death, as well as the attempted murder of “Jim,” was gang leader Gavin Grewal. But Grewal, 30, himself was the victim of a targeted killing in North Vancouver on Dec. 22, 2017.
During opening statements in January at Himpfen’s trial, Crown lawyer Mark Crisp said Jim knew Himpfen through the drug trade and they first met in 2004.
The two re-connected during a jail stint together and again at a halfway house in the summer of 2009, Crisp said.
Jim knew Grewal as well, because he sold drugs for him.
Crisp said Jim had a meeting a couple of days before the shooting where he was warned by a man known as “Long-Haired Garry” that Himpfen was “going to get (him).”
Crisp said that on the morning of the killing, Jim and Grewal exchanged text messages and arranged to meet at around 3 a.m. on Polar Avenue.
The two travelled in separate cars – Johnson was in a Chevy Tahoe with Jim – and got out to speak to each other.
Crisp said, after a few moments, Himpfen emerged from the back of Grewal’s car. Crisp alleged that Himpfen was holding a gun, and Jim began running away. Shots were then fired at him, and he heard Johnson scream.
She had been shot at several times through an open window of the Tahoe. Himpfen and Grewal fled the scene – a third man was apparently driving the vehicle they were in – and Jim ran to Johnson, saw she had been shot, and called 911.
Johnson died on the scene, and an autopsy confirmed that she had been shot in both the head and torso.
Crisp said in his opening statement that nine spent shell casings were found at the scene and three shell fragments were found in the vehicle.
But defence lawyer’s Kevin Westell was correct in his opening statement that the trial would be an “identification case” – a matter of proving who actually pulled the trigger.
The judge found there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Himpfen was the shooter.