Four men facing murder charges in Little Italy shooting found guilty
Published Thursday, May 11, 2017 3:54PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, May 11, 2017 7:13PM EDT
Four men charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 2012 Little Italy cafe slaying of John Raposo have been found guilty on all counts.
The convictions of Nick Nero, Martino Caputo, Robby Alkhalil and Dean Wiwchar were made by a jury in a downtown Toronto courtroom on Thursday afternoon, after a little more than two days of deliberation.
These carry automatic life sentences without parole eligibility for 25 years.
Raposo’s family praised the jury outside the courthouse for their verdict.
“Our hearts are broken,” Raposo’s cousin Helen Pacheco told reporters. “Justice cannot bring back the missing link in our family. As mentioned at the funeral mass, we ask everyone to remember John not as he died, but how he lived.”
Raposo, 35, was fatally shot four times in the head on the patio of the Sicilian Sidewalk Café in Little Italy on the afternoon of June 18, 2012 as soccer fans gathered to watch a Euro Cup game.
It was later determined Raposo’s death in the brazen daytime shooting was an orchestrated hit. Raposo was seen as a rival drug trafficker, evidence showed.
The three men were involved in cross-border cocaine trafficking and believed Raposo had ratted Nero out to authorities, prosecutors said.
The Crown relied partly on encrypted messages it said were exchanged by the men in months leading up to the shooting.
In at least one message, Nero called Raposo a “rat” who deserved to die for the harm he had caused, court heard. Another message had Wiwchar calling himself a contract killer who warranted a $100,000 fee.
Nero, Caputo and Alkhalil plotted to steal a 200-kilogram shipment of cocaine from Raposo, split the money three ways and hired a hitman, Wiwchar, to kill him, the Crown alleged.
Wiwchar dressed as a construction worker "walked up to him and shot him four times in the head at close range," Crown lawyer Maurice Gillezeau told the court last month.
Wiwchar was arrested three days later. Nero and Caputo were arrested in early 2013 – the latter in Germany – and Alkhalil was arrested in Greece the following year.
More than $60,000 in cash was also found in bundles in Wiwchar’s pockets, his luggage and his parents' home in Stouffville, Ont., north of Toronto, where Wiwchar went three days after the shooting, Gillezeau said.
Nero, Caputo, Alkhalil and Wiwchar had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A sentencing hearing for the group will be set for a later date.