Convicted killer in Lukas Strasser-Hird swarming death seeks bail pending appeal

Six weeks after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, Assmar Shlah is asking to be released from custody.

Shlah is one of three people convicted in the swarming death of 18-year-old Lukas Strasser-Hird.

Strasser-Hird was kicked, beaten and stabbed to death outside of Calgary’s Vinyl nightclub in November 2013.

Shlah is seeking bail while he challenges his conviction, despite the fact the 22-year-old faces an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least ten years.

Lukas Strasser-Hird

Courtesy Strasser-Hird Family

ChangSha Night Net

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    “When is it going to be over and justice for Lukas has been done? We’ve been through hell and back again,” Strasser-Hird’s grandmother Debbie Hird said outside the Court of Appeal Thursday.

    “It’s ridiculous. The public should understand the things that go on here,” Strasser-Hird’s father Dale Hird said.

    “Before he was presumed innocent and now he’s not presumed innocent–he’s guilty. He’s been convicted and found guilty. It doesn’t make any sense at all why he would be released.”

    Defence lawyer Balfour Der cited several grounds in Shlah’s appeal including an unreasonable verdict based on the evidence, as well as the justice dismissing an application for a directed verdict.

    “[Shlah] would in essence do a lot of dead time sitting in a jail cell when they might ultimately succeed on their appeal…that’s why if there is some chance of success on this appeal he should be released,” Der said Thursday.

    Shlah is asking to be released before he’s been officially sentenced. His lawyer wants Shlah released on $35,000 cash bail or a surety of $70,000.

    But Strasser-Hird’s family worries Shlah is a flight risk. One of the accused in the case skipped bail right before the trial. A warrant remains out for Nathan Gervais, wanted for first-degree murder in the case.

    READ MORE: Canada-wide warrant issued for Calgary man accused in Lukas Strasser-Hird swarming death

    Der disagreed, and said Gervais is “completely different than my client who maintains he’s innocent.”

    “My client wants to be here for this appeal because he maintains it’s going to vindicate him.”

    For the victim’s family, it seems like a never-ending battle for justice.

    “We need this finished so our family can finally try to heal, we haven’t had a chance to totally mourn my grandson or heal with all of this going on for over two-and-a-half years,” Debbie Hird said.

    READ MORE: Man convicted in Lukas Strasser-Hird’s Calgary swarming death appeals conviction

    A key piece of evidence in the case was CCTV video from the bar showing the moments leading up to the murder.

    In the video, Shlah was seen in an altercation inside the bar that spilled outside.

    Watch below: Global’s coverage of the Lukas Strasser-Hird trial

    Online video extra: Reaction to Lukas Strasser-Hird verdicts

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    Online video extra: Reaction to Lukas Strasser-Hird verdicts

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    Jury reaches verdicts in swarming death of Calgary’s Lukas Strasser-Hird

    01:28

    Man accused in Lukas Strasser-Hird swarming death thought it was a ‘bar brawl’

    01:09

    ‘I couldn’t do anything about it’: Friend of Lukas Strasser-Hird witnessed swarming attack



    READ MORE: Lukas Strasser-Hird family clings to memories of murdered teen

    Strasser-Hird was seen outside with his hands in his pockets hanging out with friends, but he spoke up when he heard Shlah yell racist remarks to a bouncer. That led to Shlah shoving him so hard he was sent reeling. Soon after, Strasser-Hird was swarmed.

    Strasser-Hird was escorted into the bar, but five minutes later he was sent out the back door into the alley, where he was killed.

    READ MORE: Jury reaches verdicts in swarming death of Calgary’s Lukas Strasser-Hird

    The Court of Appeal reserved its decision on Shlah’s bail request Thursday.

    A date for sentencing is expected to be set next Friday.