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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Former FOB gangster testifies he was part of Bolsa restaurant murder plot

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A former FOB gang member says he was involved in an elaborate plan to kidnap rival FK gang member Aaron Bendle and use him to set up and kill fellow FK gangster Sanjeev Mann. M.M., who cannot be named in order to protect his identity, testified Wednesday that he hatched the plan in December 2008 after a chance meeting with Bendle to buy drugs. He said he told fellow FOB members that he had discovered Bendle worked for Mann and that they wanted to kill him because they believed Mann fatally shot FOB member Roger Chin on July 5, 2008. “Originally, we’d go kidnap Aaron and use him to set up a meeting with Sanj,” M.M. told Crown prosecutor Susan Karpa. “Nathan Zuccherato and Mike Roberto would go in and once Sanj was murdered, then (Real Christian Honorio) and I would take Aaron out of town and kill him.” That plan, which he said was discussed after Boxing Day at a home on Elgin Way S.E. in McKenzie Towne, was supposed to be executed on Dec. 31, 2008, but had to be delayed. M.M., who has been given immunity from charges in the murders in exchange for his truthful testimony, said Zuccherato used Bendle’s phone to exchange text messages with Mann about being robbed over a drug deal. However, he said Mann questioned why he was using the wrong phone — not one they always used only to discuss drug deals. The group decided to go with Bendle to his home to get the right phone, in order to authenticate the plan with Mann. M.M. said he had a .357 Magnum gun in his track pants and told Bendle that if he tried anything, he would blow off his mother’s head and his head. While he was there, he said, he took all of Bendle’s drugs and $3,500 cash, which he later shared with Zuccherato and Roberto. He said they took Bendle to a home in Marda Loop and held him at gunpoint all night. On New Year’s Day, court has heard, Mann, 23, and Bendle, 21, were fatally shot at Bolsa Restaurant in Macleod Plaza. Bystander Keni S’ua, who ran out of the restaurant when the shots rang out, was believed to have been mistaken for Mann by a third gunman and shot to death in the parking lot. Honorio, 28, is on trial for three counts of first-degree murder. M.M. said the original intent was not to kill Bendle but, after having kept him all night, they had no choice. “Because, through the night, he knew faces and names. We didn’t disguise ourselves,” M.M. said. “Aaron was under the impression he would live.” M.M. said Honorio rode with Bendle to Bolsa Restaurant after Zuccherato received a text message from Mann that indicated where he would be eating. M.M. said he parked about 110 metres from the Bolsa door and watched. He and Nicholas Hovanesian, another gang member, were going to run interference for the shooters, so they would get away. He said he heard a dozen shots ring out, then saw Roberto chase S’ua out of Bolsa and kill him. He said Honorio was right behind him, Then Roberto, Zuccherato and Honorio got into another car they had arrived in and sped away. The witness said they all met up at Hovanesian’s house in Rundle in northeast Calgary, where the three shooters burned their clothing in a firepit. He said the three men then went shopping for new clothes at Sunridge Mall and returned a while later. M.M. said they crushed and burned the cellphones they had been using for the murders. Zuccherato, 25, and Roberto, 28, were each convicted of the same three charges last October and sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years. Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Tonii Roulston, M.M. admitted he had an extensive criminal record involving drugs and weapons. The trial continues before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman and a jury.

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