Three 'Galloway Boys' on trial for murder
A trial is finally underway for three individuals alleged to be members of the Galloway Boys, one of Toronto's most feared street gangs, accused of shooting two men who were totally unconnected to the criminal underground.
The accused, who have pleaded not guilty, face charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and attempting murder for the benefit of a criminal organization.
Crown prosecutor said Monday in its opening remarks that Tyshan Riley, Philip Atkins and Jason Wisdom were part of a "ride squad."
Their gang was in a longstanding feud with the Malvern Crew.
The trial stems from a March 2004 shooting incident that left one men dead and another critically wounded in Malvern, a neighbourhood in Toronto's far northeast.
Shooters in a black SUV sprayed a small car with bullets as it was stopped at the lights of Finch Avenue East and Neilsen Road. The car was stopped in front of a bus stop where people were standing.
Neither Brenton Charlton, 31, who died, nor his passenger Leonard Bell had any ties whatsover to the gang activity plaguing their neighbourhood at the time, police said.
The Crown described the attack as a case of mistaken identity.
Bell, who suffered nine gunshot wounds, testified Monday that the shooting started without warning. The now-48-year-old grandfather heard gunshots, felt the burn of the bullets hitting his body -- but said he couldn't identify who shot him.
He remembers telling Charlton before the shooting started that the light was amber and they should drive through.
The Galloway Boys take their name from a southeast Scarborough street.
The three accused were on a mission to go up to Malvern and track down and shoot a man named Ross P. The three believed they had spotted a Malvern Crew member and followed the car carrying the shooting victims, Akhtar said.
The prosecutor told the jury hearing the Superior Court of Justice case that the Crown will present evidence from former gang members and from wiretaps in the coming months.
This promises to be a painful experience for the families of the victims. Charlton's mother could be seen weeping outside the University Avenue courthouse.
"It feels like I'm rotting from the inside since then," said Ueleth Harvey, Charlton's aunt. "It's just horrendous."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby