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Man found guilty in murder of anti-gang activist

Kenneth Mark in an undated photo. CITYNEWS.

Lamar Skeete has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of anti-gang activist Kenneth Mark.

Mark, 30, was fatally shot on Dec. 29, 2009. The Crown alleged he was killed for testifying against Skeete in a previous trial.

“We are happy we can rest in peace, Kenneth can rest in peace, my family is in peace,” said Maureen Mark, Kenneth’s mother.

“We take comfort in the fact that Lamar Skeete, that murderous b*****d, will now face life,” his brother, Ian Mark added.

The nearly two-month-long trial began Feb. 1. Skeete faces an automatic life sentence of 25 years, but will be officially sentenced on April 17, when Mark’s family will read victim impact statements.

It’s not the first time Skeete had been charged with shooting Mark.

In an incident more than a year before he was killed, Mark was in the courtyard of a building when a man, allegedly Skeete, pointed a shotgun at a woman and her young child.

Mark cradled the two in an effort to protect them and wound up shot in the back and head. He received 57 shotgun pellets in his back, the court heard.

Mark’s family says he knew the men who were accused of shooting him and testified against them in court. But the judge decided there was not enough evidence and set them free on Dec. 17, 2009.

Mark feared for his life, but police testified he didn’t ask for protection.

Just 12 days later, Mark was fatally shot outside a pizzeria on Gilmour Avenue, near Dundas Street and Runnymede Road, while walking to his night shift at Walmart.

“This case is extremely important for the Toronto Police Service…because it shows that we won’t rest,” said Homicide Det. Justin Vander Heyden. 

“If people are going to think that they can intimidate and seek retributions against those who cooperate with the administration of justice, I want it clearly known that police…won’t stop until those people are brought to justice.”