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Killer sentenced to 14 years in condo shooting death of Edmonton man

Mohamed Makaran, 32, died of a gunshot wound in a condo in this northeast Edmonton building. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)
Mohamed Makaran, 32, died of a gunshot wound in a condo in this northeast Edmonton building. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)

The parents of victim Mohamed Ahmad Makaran huddled with supporters in an Edmonton courtroom Thursday as the man who killed their son in February 2020 was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Mohamud Dhiblawe, 33, wearing a black suit, rose in the prisoner's box at the Court of King's Bench to receive his sentence.

Justice James Neilson sentenced Dhiblawe to 12 years for second-degree murder and two years for using a prohibited firearm in the Feb. 8, 2020, killing.

Before handing down Dhiblawe's sentence, Neilson read a victim impact statement from Makaran's brother.

"The loss we have endured is immeasurable as you callously snatched away a cherished son, brother and father from our lives," Yusuf Makaran wrote.

"Your direct actions denied Mohamed Makaran the opportunity to fulfil his dreams and left his story tragically unfinished."

Mohamed Makaran was 32 when he died in a northeast Edmonton condo where he and Dhiblawe were staying.

Neilson said the two men likely fought over a gun, and that the act was impulsive.

"Dhiblawe, who was angry at Makaran, aimed his firearm at Makaran's head at close range and fired the single shot that was intended to be fatal," Neilson said.

Dhiblawe fled and a Canada-wide warrant was issued for the Toronto-born man's arrest.

Days later, police issued a second warrant for Dhiblawe in the shooting death of a 35-year-old man in Lethbridge, Alta.

Police charged Dhiblawe with second-degree murder in the Lethbridge killing but Crown prosecutors later withdrew the charge, concluding that a conviction was unlikely.

In the Edmonton case, defence lawyer Akram Attia had asked for 12 to 14 years for the killing of Makaran, while Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga sought a 17-year sentence.

Neilson cited mitigating factors including Dhiblawe's relative youth, no significant criminal record, and strong support from law-abiding and respected family members.

The judge said he has "some confidence" that Dhiblawe may go on to lead a good life "with that family support."

Neilson also considered aggravating factors, including the impact on Makaran's loved ones and Dhiblawe's use of a prohibited firearm.

In 2017 Dhiblawe was convicted for assaulting his sister but they have since reconciled, court heard.

In his victim impact statement, Makaran's brother stressed that Dhiblawe's actions have had far-reaching consequences.

"Your deeds have not only brought shame upon yourself, but have also cast a dark cloud over our entire community," Yusuf Makaran wrote.

"While the rest of us strive to move forward, we bear the burden of what you have done."