Lawyer blames 'psychopath' Bandido for murders
LONDON, Ont. - Wayne Kellestine is a "psychopath" who, possibly fuelled by drugs, planned and carried out the carnage that saw eight bikers shot dead and stuffed into vehicles in what's been called Ontario's largest mass slaying, a defence lawyer said Tuesday.
Court is hearing closing submissions from the lawyers for six men who have pleaded not guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the Toronto Bandidos biker gang members. Much of the testimony at trial has placed the lion's share of the blame on Kellestine, and Tuesday's closing submissions were no different.
"There are monsters among us and Kellestine is one of them," lawyer Christopher Hicks told the jury.
"Kellestine is a psychopath... There are no kinder or gentler words that would be true."
Court has heard that the bikers were invited to the farmhouse of Kellestine, a fellow Toronto Bandido with whom relations were strained, on April 7, 2006, and that seven of the men were led out of Kellestine's barn, one by one, never to return -- a "parade of death," Hicks said.
Accused Michael Sandham took the stand and admitted shooting the first man, Luis Raposo, who then died in a pool of his blood on the barn floor. Sandham had told the court it was because he had a gun in his hand and flinched when Raposo shot first. His lawyer also suggested Sandham shot Raposo in self-defence.
Court heard from two others who were there that night -- one a fellow accused and the other a biker who became an informant in exchange for immunity -- who said they saw Kellestine shoot some of the men point blank.
The notion of a plan -- a requisite for a first-degree murder conviction -- has become central to the case, and in Hicks' closing address he suggested Kellestine formulated a "spur-of-the-moment" plan to which only fellow accused Sandham and Dwight Mushey were privy.
Evidence has been presented that there were orders from U.S. Bandidos officials for Kellestine to strip the rest of the Toronto members of their Bandido status, and that after doing so he and Sandham would rise within the organization.
But at what point, if any, the plan morphed from a "patch-pulling" to a mass murder has been the subject of several theories presented by the defence in their closing submissions. Hicks, the lawyer for Brett Gardiner, suggested it was when Kellestine, Sandham and Mushey left the barn three times for private meetings after Raposo was shot.
"It was Kellestine's plan and Kellestine's plan alone," Hicks said. "Kellestine formulated this plan in the fields of his farm."
Hicks also suggested Kellestine "had a dirty little secret," that even though he was critical of his biker brothers' drug use, he too used recreational drugs -- speed or methamphetamines, according to the informant.
Court has also heard that after the killings Kellestine said he got messed up, then he messed up, which Hicks said he interprets as a reference to Kellestine's drug use.
Michael Moon, the lawyer for Mushey, let loose a tirade against Sandham, suggesting he played a central role in the killings and directly murdered three men, including Raposo.
Sandham's weepy testimony portraying himself as a "mother hen" who was hugging the men marked for death and wrapping blankets around the wounded is completely unbelievable, Moon said.
"How stupid does he think we are?" Moon said. Rather, Sandham is a killer and a "malevolent" spider constantly spinning new webs of lies, he said.
Moon also said the Toronto men had found out Sandham was an ex-police officer and that Sandham had overheard talk of Raposo itching to "put a hole" in him.
"At the end of that terrible night, everyone who knew he had been a cop was dead," Moon said.
His own client, Mushey, could possibly be found guilty of manslaughter in Raposo's death because he was carrying a gun at the time, but is not guilty of the rest of the murders. Quoting from a surreptitiously recorded discussion Mushey had after the killings, Moon interpreted it to mean Mushey told Kellestine that night that his plan "wasn't right."
As for his own client, Hicks portrayed Gardiner as a dumb Bandido wannabe, anxious to become a prospect, but too dense to have known Kellestine's alleged murderous intent.
"(Gardiner) simply wasn't very bright," Hicks said. "Any plan would have to be carefully explained and repeated."
For most of that evening -- particularly when Hicks contends Kellestine was formulating his deadly plan -- Gardiner was in the farmhouse, not the barn, Hicks said. He only entered the barn briefly, and was sent back to the farmhouse after remarking "did you...hear that? I better check on Wayne," when gunfire was heard.
Gardiner played "a true cameo part in this grim feature," Hicks said.
The victims were George Jessome, 52, George Kriarakis, 28, John Muscedere, 48, Raposo, 41, Frank Salerno, 43, Paul Sinopoli, 30, Jamie Flanz, 37, and Michael Trotta, 31.
Sandham, Frank Mather, Marcelo Aravena, Gardiner, Mushey and Kellestine face eight counts each of first-degree murder.
Submissions continue Wednesday with Clay Powell, the lawyer for Kellestine, followed by the Crown. Justice Thomas Heeney will then give his charge to the jury and they begin their deliberations after the marathon trial, which began hearing evidence in March.