Shedden massacre

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The Shedden massacre involved the killing of eight men, whose bodies were found in a farmer's field five kilometres north[1] of Shedden, a small village in the Canadian province of Ontario, on April 8, 2006. Four vehicles, with the bodies inside, were first discovered by a farmer.[2] The day after the bodies were discovered, five people, including one member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, were arrested for the murders, and three more people were arrested in June 2009. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said the killings were an isolated event and there were no fears for the safety of local residents.[1]

Timeline[edit]

Key events in the Shedden-area Bandidos massacre and the ensuing police probe:

Victims[edit]

On April 10, the victims were all confirmed to have been shot and identified as follows:[3]

  • George Jessome, 52, of Toronto
  • George Kriarakis, 28, of Toronto
  • Luis Manny Raposo, 41, of Toronto
  • Francesco Salerno, 43, of Oakville
  • John Muscedere, 48, of Chatham
  • Paul Sinopoli, 30, of Sutton
  • Jamie Flanz, 37, of Keswick
  • Michael Trotta, 31, of Mississauga

All but Flanz and Trotta were described as "full patch" (fully initiated and active) members of the Bandidos;[3] Muscedere was believed to be the president of the Bandidos in Canada. This mass murder was investigated for several weeks.[4] The road upon which the vehicles were found was a short distance from an exit off Highway 401. The bodies were discovered in a "silver 2001 Volkswagen Golf, a grey 2003 Infiniti SUV, a grey Pontiac Grand Prix and a green Chevrolet Silverado tow truck operated by Superior Towing of Etobicoke."[5]

Police arrived at the barn to a scene filled with blood, pieces of flesh and beer bottles, also noting Confederate and Nazi flags hanging on a wall.[6]

Murderers[edit]

Wayne Kellestine protests against the London, Ontario gay pride parade in 2005.

Convicted of first degree murder are:[3]

  • Wayne Kellestine, 56, of Dutton
  • Frank Mather, 32, of Dutton
  • Brett Gardiner, 21, of no known address

Kellestine is a full member of the Bandidos; he and the other four suspects were all arrested at his residence, which is only a few kilometres from the crime scene.[7]

The surrounding Elgin County has a history of biker gang activity, though not of major crime.[8][9] Several days after the murders, Sun Media reported that further arrests may be pending.[10]

On June 16, 2009, police in Winnipeg arrested three additional men, all from that city, in connection with the killings:[11]

  • Dwight Mushey, 36
  • Marcello Aravena, 30
  • Michael Sandham, 36

Police said that Sandham and Mushey were full members of the club, and Aravena was a prospective member.[11] Sandham, who was also believed to be the leader of the Winnipeg Bandidos chapter, is a former police officer. In 2002, he was suspended from the force in the Winnipeg-area community of East St. Paul and then resigned. Sources told CBC News that Members of the RCMP provided his force with photos of him attending a Bandidos function while on leave from work.[12]

The three were delivered into OPP custody and transported to St. Thomas, Ontario for a court appearance that afternoon. All were charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. A woman, whom police refused to identify, was also arrested, but was not charged. Police also seized an SUV for forensic testing in Ontario.[11]

The star witness testified to a bungled and 'cheap' plot, led by an indecisive Kellestine: "They were at the very bottom rung of biker gangs. Some were in their 40s but still lived with their parents. They were not making any money, many of them had been rejected by the Hells Angels and half of them didn't even own a motorbike".[6]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Eric Niessen, 45, and his common-law wife Kerry Morris, 47, both from Monkton, Ontario, were initially charged with first degree murder, but police dropped those charges on May 6, and they were instead charged with eight counts of being accessories after the fact.[4]

On January 9, 2007, a preliminary hearing for all six suspects began in a London, Ontario court under extraordinarily tight security. On the first day of the proceeding, Kellestine gave reporters the finger and swore at a courtroom artist. A gag order was issued prohibiting media reports on the evidence presented in the hearing.[13]

The hearing was expected to take about three months, but did not conclude until June 21, 2007, at which time Justice Ross Webster ruled that all six defendants would stand trial on all charges. At the time, defence lawyers for at least two of the suspects said that the evidence presented warranted a reduction in charges for their clients. The lawyers were considering asking for a review of Webster's ruling by a higher court, which could delay the case by several months.[14]

The murder trial for Aravena, Gardiner, Kellestine, Mather, Mushey and Sandham commenced on March 31, 2009 in London, Ontario with all six of the accused entering pleas of not guilty.[15]

On October 29, 2009 the jury returned 44 guilty verdicts for first degree murder and four for manslaughter, believed to be the largest number of murder convictions ever produced from a single criminal proceeding in Canada.[16] Wayne Kellestine, Michael Sandham and Dwight Mushey were each found guilty of eight counts of first-degree murder. Frank Mather and Marcelo Aravena were both found guilty of seven counts of first degree murder and one count of manslaughter. Brett Gardiner was found guilty of six counts of first degree murder and two counts of manslaughter.[17]

See also[edit]

In 2012, a new book written by Anita Arvast, entitled Bloody Justice, was released which called into question the first degree murder convictions of Mather, Aravena and Gardner. Their appeals are to be heard in 2014.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kemick, April, "Despite their belief the crime was committed by outsiders, area residents are nervous.", London Free Press (Ontario), April 9, 2009
  2. ^ "8 bodies found on Ontario farm's field", CBC News, April 8, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Five charged in biker gang killings", CBC News, April 10, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Ontario mass murder: a timeline", CBC News, April 10, 2009.
  5. ^ Van Rijn, Nicolaas, et al.; "Bikers linked to murders", Toronto Star, April 10, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Summers, Chris (30 October 2009). "Blood, bullets and motorcycle oil". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  7. ^ "Trial dates to be set for those accused in Bandidos massacre". CBC News. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  8. ^ "Victims in multiple slaying came from Toronto area", CBC News, April 9, 2009.
  9. ^ Mandel, Michele, "Mass murder at our doorstep", London Free Press (Ontario), April 9, 2009
  10. ^ Boland, Jack,"More arrests?", London Free Press (Ontario), April 14, 2006
  11. ^ a b c "3 Winnipeg men charged in Bandidos massacre", CBC News, June 16, 2009
  12. ^ "Ex-chief has no regrets over murder suspect's reference". CBC News. June 26, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Bandidos massacre suspect behaves badly in court". CBC News. 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  14. ^ "Accused in Bandidos massacre to head to trial". CBC News. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  15. ^ "Guilty verdicts at Bandidos murder trial". CBC News. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  16. ^ "Six Bandidos guilty of first-degree murder". The Globe and Mail (Toronto: "Globe and Mail"). 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  17. ^ "Six Bandidos guilty of first-degree murder". CBC News ("Globe and Mail"). 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 

See Bloody Justice by Anita Arvast.

References[edit]