Shedden massacre

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The Shedden massacre involved the killing of eight men, whose bodies were found in a 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]

"Crazy" Kellestine[edit]

Wayne "Weiner" Kellestine was the founder and president of the Annihilators Motorcycle Club based in St. Thomas. Kellestine had a long criminal record going back to 1967. In 2006, The Toronto Sun reported that since 1967: "Kellestine amassed convictions for three counts of assault causing bodily harm, three for assault, three for possessing unregistered weapons and more than a dozen counts for various weapons, property and breach and escape charges."[3] Kellestine had been convicted of assault in 1982, and in 1992 was convicted of drug possession.[4] At his 1982 trial for assault, one of the witnesses testified that it was widely known in criminal circles that Kellestine had murdered a London man, Giovanni DiFilippo, in 1978.[5] A police investigation established that Kellestine had almost certainly murdered DiFilippo, but there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against him.[5] In December 1991, Kellestine shot Thomas Roger Harmsworth, a biker with the rival Outlaws gang, putting four bullets into his body, and was charged with attempted murder with the charges being dropped when Harmsworth refused to testify against him.[6]

Two days after the charges were dropped against Kellestine for the attempted murder of Harmsworth in January 1992, the body of David McNeil was found in a shallow grave with three bullets in his skull.[7] McNeil was wanted for the murder of police constable Scott Rossiter on 19 September 1991, and it is generally believed that Kellestine had killed McNeil and led the police to his body in exchange for the charges of attempted murder against Harmsworth being dropped.[7] In March 1992, during a police crackdown on both the Annihilators and the Outlaws, Kellestine was arrested at his farm, being found drunk and high in his living room surrounded by guns, cocaine, and Nazi memorabilia.[7] Kellestine was much feared in south-western Ontario, being widely seen as a wild-man with an extremely bad temper and an unpredictable streak.[8] Kellestine had a certain local notoriety as the man who liked to introduce himself as: "Hi, I'm Wayne Kellestine. I sell drugs and I kill people".[8] In 2009, one of Kellestine's neighbors, a local farmer who did not wish to be named, told the journalist Timothy Appleby of The Globe and Mail: "He didn't bother us too much most of the time, but everybody knew he was trouble, there was often biker types around, and there was always talk that he had killed people".[9] The journalist Bruce Owen who has long covered outlaw bikers wrote that Kellestine was "likely nuts, but not criminally insane."[10]

Besides for his criminal activities, Kellestine was widely known in Iona Station for being a racist and an anti-Semite with his farmhouse full of Nazi memorabilia, and Kellestine travelling to London every year to protest the local Gay Pride Day by waving about the Confederate battle flag (he wanted to use the Nazi flag instead, but didn't because he could be indicated for violating hate-crime laws).[11] Kellestine's closest friend was another biker, David "Concrete Dave" Weiche, whose father Martin K. Weiche was a German immigrant who ran a locally successful construction company.[11] The elder Weiche, a Hitler Youth alumni and a Wehrmacht veteran, had one of the largest collections of Nazi memorabilia in Canada and in the 1968 election had ran for the House of Commons as a National Socialist, winning 89 votes.[11] Though the Weiche familiy, Kellestine had connections with various extreme right-wing groups in Canada and mowed a giant swastika into his fields in emulation of the swastika that the elder Weiche had mowed into the grass outside his house.[11]

"Patching over": consolidation in the outlaw biker world[edit]

The 1990s were a period of consolidation in the world of Canadian bikers, mostly notably in Quebec, where in the Quebec Biker war saw the Hells Angels battle the Rock Machine for control of various organized crime rackets in la belle province. Across the Atlantic, the Great Nordic Biker War for the control of organized crime in Scandinavia took place between 1994-97, and many of the Canadian bikers not with the Hell's Angels were impressed at the way that the Scandinavian branches of the Bandidos held their own against the Scandinavian branches of the Hell's Angels.[12] In June 1997, the leaders of the Rock Machine went to Sweden to ask for support from the Swedish branch of the Bandidos.[13] The "Big Four" of the world of American outlaw biking are the Hell's Angels, the Outlaws, the Pagans, and the Bandidos.

On 7 April 1998, Jeffrey LaBrash and Jody Hart, two leaders of the Ontario Outlaws biker gang were gunned down leaving a strip club by two men known to be associated with the Hell's Angels in London, Ontario.[14] In December 1998, a London businessman, Salvatore Vecchio, who was widely believed to be linked with the Hell's Angels, was murdered with his body found buried in a swamp outside the Forest City.[15] In June 1999, the Annihilators Motorcycle Club based in St. Thomas led by Kellestine joined the Loners club based in Richmond Hill.[16] In face of the challenge from the Hell's Angels, Kellestine decided he needed allies, and unwilling to merge with the Outlaws, had decided to merge with the Loners instead.[17] Kellestine had founded the Annihilators in the 1970s and become the new president of the Loners at the time of the merger in 1999.[4]. Following Kellestine into the Loners was another Annihilator, Giovanni Muscedere, who lived outside of Chatham and had joined the Annihilators in 1997.[18] The police and media usually referred to the Loners under Kellestine as the London Loners or the St. Thomas Loners, but the gang always called themselves the Chatham Loners because their clubhouse was located in that city.[17] The Globe and Mail reported in 2004 about the Hell's Angels' push into south-western Ontario: "From 1999 to 2002, when the conflict reached a peak, beatings, brawls and shootings became common".[19] In October 1999, the Hell's Angels attempted to murder Kellestine after he vetoed an offer from the Hell's Angels to join their club.[20] The Hell's Angels offered to have the Loners "patch over" to become Angels, but Kellestine refused the offer, expelling all of the Loners who wanted to join the Angels and had one pro-Angel Loner beaten and pistol-whipped before he was expelled.[21] On 22 October 1999, in a drive-by shooting, two Hell's Angels from Quebec, David "Dirty" McLeish and Phil "Philbilly" Gastonguay, opened fire with a shotgun on Kellestine, who was sitting in his truck at a stop in an intersection in rural Ontario.[22]

In April 2000, Dany Kane, an undercover agent for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police working within the Quebec Hell's Angels, reported that one of the Angels' leaders, David "Wolf" Carroll, had at first given orders for the Loners to all be killed with the plot later cancelled because too many people knew about it.[23] On 1 December 2000, the Rock Machine joined the Bandidos biker gang, with the Loners providing security at the ceremony in Vaughan where the Ontario Rock Machine bikers formally took on the Bandidos patches.[24] On 29 December 2000, most of the Ontario biker gangs such as Satan's Choice, the Lobos, the Last Chance and the Para-Dice Riders traveled to Montreal to join the Hell's Angels, making them at one stroke the dominant biker club in Ontario.[25] As a result of the mass "patch-over" in Montreal with 168 bikers becoming Hell's Angels, the greater Toronto area went from having no Hell's Angels chapters to having the highest concentration of Hell's Angels' chapters in the world.[26] Shortly afterwards in early 2001, the Hell's Angels are reported to issued an ultimatum to the Outlaws operating in Ontario to either retire or join the Angels.[27] Pointedly, the Chatham chapter of the Loners were not invited to join the Hell's Angels, through the Woodbridge chapter of the Loners joined the Angels in 2001.[17] In 2004, the Globe and Mail reported about the presence of the Hell's Angels in south-western Ontario: "The Hells Angels nonetheless succeeded in becoming the dominant organized criminal presence in the area, as they have across Canada. Although their formal presence in London dates back only three years, the Hells Angels now have extensive interests in the city's strip clubs, tattoo parlours and half-dozen exotic-massage joints (called "rub 'n' tugs" by the locals). They or their associates hold interests in at least two car dealerships. They're deeply involved, police say, in intimidation and extortion. And, as in the rest of Ontario, they do a booming trade in cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and prescription drugs...But for all their wealth, the Hells Angels' hold on the city's underworld is still founded on the threat of mayhem. In contrast to nearby communities such as Kitchener-Waterloo - where the Angels vigorously promote themselves as good citizens - intimidation, beatings and other violence, much of it drug-related, are common...Violent incidents - as many as four a month - go unreported because the victims are too terrified of the Angels to complain, sources say."[28]

Unable to stand on their own, the Loners joined the Bandidos on 22 May 2001 as probationary members, becoming full members on 1 December 2001.[29] A complicating factor was that the Loners had been sponsored into the Bandidos by the Swedish branch of the club, a move that was not sanctioned by the world headquarters of the Bandidos in Houston, Texas, making their extract status within the club somewhat problematic.[30] In June 2002, after series of police raids led to the arrest of several Bandidos in Ontario and in Quebec, Giovanni "Boxer" Muscedere became the president of the Canadian Bandidos.[31] Alain Brunette, the Bandido president who was formally of the Rock Machine, was charged with conspiracy to import drugs, and Muscedere became president as the only senior Bandido not in prison or facing charges.[32] In July 2002, Kellestine was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of 22 counts of violating the laws governing guns after the police discovered various illegal firearms at his farm.[33] In July 2004, Muscedere opened a new Bandido chapter in Winnipeg, whose members were only probationary members.[34] In August 2004, after being released from prison following his conviction on gun and drug charges, Kellestine become the sargento de armas of the Canadian Bandidos, and was displeased at the way his former protegee Muscedere now overshadowed him.[35] On 25 June 2005, Michael "Taz" Sandham, the president of the Winnipeg chapter, visited Kellestine's farm to complain about the unwillingness of the Toronto chapter to make the Winnipeg chapters full members, asking for his support.[36]

Rift in the Bandidos[edit]

On 8 December 2005, the body of a Keswick drug dealer, Shawn Douse, was found and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) suspecting that the Bandido Jamie Flanz had been involved in his murder had tapped his phone.[37] Douse had last been seen alive visiting Flanz's apartment in Keswick on 6 December 2005, and four Bandidos were ultimately charged with his murder.[37] As part of the investigation of Douse's murder, the OPP brought Flanz and the rest of the Toronto Bandido chapter under surveillance and tapped all of their phones.[37] Later in December 2005, the American leadership of the Bandidos, who grown increasingly unhappy with Muscedere's leadership, expelled him and his followers, charging that he was failing to make money and were going about business in a "sloppy" manner that leaving them wide open to prosecution.[38] Moreover, because the American leadership of the Bandidos all had criminal records, it was impossible for them to legally visit Canada, which led to the Canadian branch of the Bandidos being widely seen as a badly functioning rogue operation who refused to communicate properly.[38] One American Bandido, Bill Sartelle, in an email to Muscedere complained: "You can't come here, we can't come there, but you do not want to answer any questions. There are issues that need to be resolved. I have made attempts to get these answers, but have not gotten fuck all".[39] After being ordered to return their Bandido patches and property, Muscedere sent out an email to Bandidos chapters around the world calling for a vote to allow him and his followers to stay.[40] Jeff Pike, the world leader of the Bandidos, in an email told Muscedere: "Bandidos don't vote, they do what the fuck they're told".[40]

Muscedere and his followers took to calling themselves the "no surrender crew" after an ultra-violent fraction in the Irish Republican Army opposed to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, because they refused the orders from Houston to surrender their patches, saying they were going to stay on as Bandidos despite Pike's decision to expel them.[40] For their part, the Winnipeg chapter believed that Muscedere was an incompetent leader whose poor relations with Houston had prevented them from being granted full patches.[40] Kellestine had been ordered by Houston to "pull the patches" on the "no surrender crew" or be expelled himself, and in March 2006, Kellestine had asked the Winnipeg chapter for help.[40] Kellestine, who frequently consumed the drugs he was supposed to sell and who was deeply in debt with the bank frequently threatening to foreclose on his farm he brought in 1987, had discovered that selling methamphetamine was a lucrative business, and was greatly annoyed when Muscedere had ordered him to stop selling methamphetamine under the grounds that it was too "risky".[40] The indebted Kellestine frequently complained that the other members were more interested having the chapter serve as a social club rather than as a money-making concern, which echoed the feelings of the American leadership of the Bandidos.[40]

The Canadian Bandidos biker gang was divided into factions, the "No Surrender crew" associated with Toronto and a rival fraction based in Winnipeg.[41] The "no surrender crew" could not afford their own clubhouse and instead held their meetings in the basement in a Greek restaurant in Toronto.[42] Kellestine, a biker based in a farm in Dutton/Dunwich township in Elgin county was disliked by the "no surrender crew", who considered him to be erratic and obnoxious, charging that he used methamphetamine too much for his own good, which led him to align with the Winnipeg fraction.[43] One biker who knew him said Kellestine "...wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer."[44] Sandham in his turn, saw the "no surrender crew" as the only thing that was preventing him and the Winnipeg chapter from being granted full patches, and often pressed Kellestine to act against the Toronto chapter.[45]

In March 2006, Sandham and Kellestine traveled to British Columbia to visit the Peace Arch Park on the American-Canadian border.[46] As American bikers generally cannot enter Canada as most of them have criminal records and vice-versa, the Peace Arch Park where it is possible to hold a conversation without crossing the border, is a popular meeting place for Canadian and American bikers.[47] An American Bandido, Peter "Mongo" Price, told Sandham and Kellestine that Houston was furious that the "no surrender crew" were still wearing Bandido patches despite being expelled in December 2005.[47] Price further informed Kellestine that he would become the new Canadian Bandido president if he succeeded in "pulling the patches" of the "no surrender crew"while the Winnipeg chapter would be granted "full patches", making them into full members.[46] Price concluded by stating that both Kellestine and Sandham would be expelled as well if they failed with removing the patches being worn by the rogue Toronto chapter.[46] At his trial in 2009, Sandham testified that Price who was representing Pike had told him that Muscedere and the rest of the "no surrender crew" were to be killed with Kellestine to become the new leader of the Canadian Bandidos as the reward.[48]

In a phone call recorded by the police shortly after the meeting in the Peace Arch Park, Kellestine told another Bandido, Cameron Acorn, one of the principle suspects in the murder of Douse, that:

"The people in the States are super, super, super fuckin' choked [biker slang for being angry]...And don't say a word, just...uh...just leave it at that...For some strange reason, they [the American leadership] seem to...oh fuck...anyways, there's going to be some major changes, man...I'm telling you right now you protect yourself...it's not my doing. I want no part of this, but I'm gonna trying to salvage as many guys as possible".[46]

Kellestine had decided to "pull the patches" on the "no surrender crew", revoking their claim to call themselves Bandidos and then chosen to liquidate the "no surrender crew" when he realized that they would not take kindly to losing their prized Bandidos patches.[49] Arriving to help Kellestine with "pulling the patches" were Sandham together with three other Winnipeg Bandidos; namely Dwight Mushey, a kick-boxer and boxer, Marcello Aravena, a tae kwon do enthusiast and a bouncer in a strip club, and another man known only as M.H.[50] The Winnipeg crew claimed that Sandham received a phone call from an American Bandido Keinard "Hawaiian Ken" Post, asking why the "no surrender crew" were still wearing Bandido patches five months after being expelled and accused them all of incompetence in allowing this situation to persist.[51] Joining them were two men that Kellestine had recruited, a career criminal from New Brunswick with a long record for home invasions, Frank Mather, who was serving as his bodyguard, and a homeless man named Brett "Bull" Gardiner, who was completely loyal to Kellestine for providing him with a home.[51] Gardiner was a man of very limited intelligence, whom Kellestine had once asked to supply him with pickles from a "pickle tree" growing on his farm, which led him to spend hours looking for the elusive "pickle tree" before telling Kellestine that he couldn't find it.

At the beginning of April 2006, Kellestine accused one of the "no surrender crew", a former hockey player and a computer business owner from Montreal now working as a bouncer in Keswick, Jamie Flanz, of being a police informer.[11] As Flanz was Jewish and the rabidly anti-Semitic Kellestine hated him for that, Muscedere did not take the allegation seriously, but to settle the matter, it was agreed that the "no surrender crew" would visit Kellestine's farm to discuss his claims.[52] Muscedere and the "no surrender crew" were planning to "pull the patch" on Kellestine, whose racist paranoia had become too much for them.[37] One of the bikers invited to the meeting, Paul Sinopoli, in the week preceding the meeting was overheard by the OPP listening in on his phone conversations repeatedly trying to find an excuse not to visit Kellestine's farm, saying he was feeling unwell.[47] Sinopoli was an Argentine immigrant who lived in his parent's basement as he could not afford to move out and who suffered from low self-esteem because of his obesity.[53] Sinopoli worked as a drug dealer, albeit not a very successful one, and who only seems to have joined the club out of a desire to feel powerful and to be liked.[53] Despite his "teddy bear" image, at the trial of Douse's killers in 2008, Sinopoli was identified as one of the Bandidos who had beaten Douse to death at Flanz's apartment.[54] Unknown to the "no surrender crew", a team of detectives investigating Douse's murder followed them down the 401 highway as they went to meet Kellestine.[55] The policemen following the "no surrender crew" had no warrant to enter Kellestine's farm, and as he chopped down all of the trees on the flat land around his farm to provide a wide open view in all directions, the police decided not to compromise the operation by getting too close, parking their cars several miles away in a wooded country lane.[56]

The Massacre[edit]

On the night of 7 April 2006, at a meeting at Kellestine's farm attended by the two factions, which began at about 10:30 pm when the "no surrender crew" entered his barn.[57] The barn was full of rusting machinery, old furniture, and children's toys while its walls were decorated with pornographic photographs of buxom young women sitting atop Harley-Davidson motorcycles or half-dressed as construction workers together with "Kellestine's usual Nazi propaganda".[58] Kellestine instructed his guests to stay in the middle where he had cleared out some space..[58] Sandham was standing in the rafters with a rifle while Mushey, Mather, Aravena and a biker known as MH were patrolling outside armed with rifles and shotguns, and Gardiner listened to the police scanners inside Kellestine's house.[59] Upon entering the barn, Luis "Chopper" Raposo saw Sandham with his rifle, and realizing that he been betrayed fired at him with his sawed-off shotgun.[60] Sandham was only slightly injured as he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, returned fire and killed Raposo.[61] Two of the "no surrender crew", Paul "Big Paulie" Sinopoli and George "Crash" Kriarakis attempted to flee, but were shot down and wounded by Kellestine who was armed with a handgun.[62]

Over the next two hours, Kellestine frequently changed his mind about whatever he was going to "pull the patches" or execute the "no surrender crew", and at one point allowed Muscedere to call his girlfriend on his cell phone provided he "didn't say anything fucking stupid".[63] Muscedere told his girlfriend: "How's the baby? I'll see you in a couple hours. I love you."[64] The macho Muscedere decided to be faithful to the biker's code of never asking for help, and did not alert his girlfriend to his predicament.[65] Kellestine drank heavily over the course of the night and ranted to his prisoners about his grievances with them.[66] Kellestine pistol-whipped Flanz several times and told him: "I'm saving you for last, you fucking Jew".[63] Kriarakis, who was wounded in the thigh, prayed to God and asked that his captors to spare him as his family would miss him, but was told to shut up.[67] As Kriarakis prayed in Greek while Sinopoli cried, saying he never wanted to come to Kellestine's farm, which led to both men being told by another prisoner, Francesco Salerno: "We're bikers. We're not the fucking Boy Scouts, so stop your whining".[68] Several times, Kellestine asked Muscedere to join him despite the way he was attempting to depose him as national president, but he firmly declined, who instead asked for an ambulance be called for Sinopoli and Kriarakis, who were bleeding to death.[69] Muscedere also defended Jamie "Goldberg" Flanz from charges of being disloyal; Kellestine was an admirer of Nazi Germany and had issues with the Jewish Flanz.[70] Finally, Kellestine decided to execute the "No Surrender crew" and they were all taken out one by one and shot execution style.[71] The Ontario Court of Appeal described the killings as "an execution assembly line".[72]

As the men were marched out and shot, Kellestine, who been drinking very heavily that night, danced a jig while singing Das Deutschlandlied.[73] Realizing he was doomed, Muscedere stated: "Do me. Do me first. I want to go out like a man."[30] A police wiretap recorded that Mushey told Aravena about Muscedere's execution: "This guy, he went out like a man...He laughed. Went like a man."[74] Kellestine personally executed Muscedere, who had once been his friend.[75] Muscedere was marched out of the barn, forced to sit in his car, and Kellestine shot him in the head at point blank range, followed by another shot to his chest.[63] The next to be killed was Kriarakis, who prayed in Greek, as he went out and was shot.[76] Mushey speaking to M.H some weeks later and unaware that the latter was wearing a wire, said he was surprised by how much Kriarakis cried as he was marched out to be shot, saying he expected a fellow outlaw biker to be tougher.[77] George "Pony" Jessome, a 52 year old tow truck driver dying of cancer who only joined the Bandidos because he wanted some friends in his last days, went out next, not saying a word.[76] Sinopoli was taken to be shot, crying and screaming hysterically, saying that he had really wished that he not attended this meeting as he had wanted to.[78] Flanz and another of the "no surrender crew", Michael "Little Mickey" Trotta were ordered to clean up the blood on the ground, using beach.[78] One of the killers who later turned Crown's evidence known as only as "MH" stated one of the victims, Frank "Bammer" Salerno, tried to shake his hand with MH testifying in 2009: "Bammer went to shake my hand. I didn't do it."[30] As Salerno was marched out to be shot, his last words to his killers were to think of newly born son.[79] Flanz was shot last in order to ensure that he would suffer the most because he was Jewish, and he talked much about his children as he waited for his time to die.[80][81] Trotta was taken out be shot, not saying a word, and finally Flanz was killed.[78] Flanz was killed by Mushey as Sandham told him that he "owed him one".[82]

Afterwards, Kellestine ordered the bodies be placed into their vehicles.[82] Nobody wanted to drive Muscedere's car with his body in the driver's seat and the entire front seats soaked in blood, so his car was attached to Jessome's tow truck.[82] The obese Sinopoli's corpse did not fit properly into the trunk of the SUV that it was packed into with the other corpses, and nearly rolled out several times during the trip up the 401 highway.[83] Kellestine had planned to take the bodies up the 401 and dump them in Kitchener, which was known as a stronghold of the Hell's Angels, out of the belief the police would blame them, but he did not buy enough gas for the trip, forcing the killers to abort the trip to Kitchener, with the bodies dumped in a farmer's field chosen only they couldn't go any further up the 401.[84] The bodies and vehicles dumped in the farmer's field were not burned because the killers were "too cheap to buy enough gasoline" to set them afire.[30]

Victims[edit]

On April 10, the victims were all confirmed to have been shot and identified as follows:[85]

  • 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;[85] Muscedere was believed to be the president of the Bandidos in Canada. This mass murder was investigated for several weeks.[86] 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."[87]

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.[30]

The Lenti affair[edit]

Frank "Cisco" Lenti, the man who founded the Loners in 1984 and who did not attend the meeting at Kellestine's barn, attempted to keep the Bandidos alive after the massacre.[88] On 28 September 2006, two Hells Angels, Remond "Ray" Akleh and Mark Stephenson were charged with hiring another Angel, Steven Gault, to kill Lenti.[89] Unknown to Akleh and Stephenson, Gault was secretly an undercover police agent. On 2 December 2006, four Angels showed up at the Club Pro Adult Entertainment in Vaughan, where Lenti worked at a security guard.[90] Lenti, believing the Angels had come to kill him, opened fire, wounding one Angel, Carlo Verrelli, and killing another, David Buchanan.[91] On 14 April 2008, Lenti pledged guilty to manslaughter for killing Buchanan and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.[92]

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.[86] 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.[93] A male minor was also questioned, with no credible evidence supporting involvement in the murders.

The surrounding Elgin County has a history of biker gang activity, though not of major crime.[94][95][96]

On June 16, 2006, police in Winnipeg arrested three additional men, all from that city, in connection with the killings:[97]

  • 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.[97] 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.[98]

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.[97]

On January 9, 2007, a preliminary hearing for all six suspects began in a court in London, Ontario, 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.[99]

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.[100]

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.[101]

The star witness known as "MH" testified to a bungled and 'cheap' plot, led by an indecisive Kellestine.[30] MH, one of the killers agreed to turn Crown's evidence in exchange for being granted immunity.[30] 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.[102] Convicted of first degree murder are:[85]

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

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.[103]

Aravena, Gardiner, Kellestine, Mather, Mushey and Sandham appealed their convictions; but Sandham ultimately abandoned his appeal. On April 16, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the remaining appeals.[104]

Gardiner, Mather and Aravena then sought leave to make their final appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. On April 7, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed their applications for leave to appeal.[105]

Wayne Kellestine, Bandidos member, was convicted in connection with the Shedden massacre.

Legacy[edit]

Peter Edwards, a journalist with The Toronto Star told the BBC in 2009: "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".[30] The Winnipeg chapter of the Bandidos came under the authority of the Toronto chapter who had refused to grant them full patches, which finally led the Winnipeg chapter to liquidate the Toronto chapter.[30] Edwards stated: "There was a chapter based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who came under the auspices of Toronto. But Winnipeg were not granted full patches by Toronto. They effectively had no job security and they grew really frustrated."[30] Speaking about the massacre, Yves Lavigne, an expert on bikers in Canada, told The London Free Press in 2016 that: "Bikers are not the smartest people. Or wannabes...It's like the NHL. They expanded too fast and too much. Now they're just recruiting anyone. How can they call themselves a "motorcycle club" when some recruits don't even know how to ride a motorbike? You don't romanticize these people...These guys [the killers and the victims] were all rejects from other gangs. These guys were the class dummies. So the lesson in Shedden is: Don't try to be something you're not".[106] Lavigne concluded that the Shedden massacre were amateurish killings of men of low intelligence perpetuated by men of low intelligence.[107] The former Bandido Edward Winterhalder told Edwards in 2016: "It's meth logic. That's all that was. It was logical in (Kellestine's) mind because he was whacked out on methamphetamine."[108]

As the result of the massacre with the Toronto chapter of the Bandidos all killed and the Winnipeg chapter all imprisoned was the end of the Bandidos in Canada, leaving the Hell's Angels as the dominant biker gang in Canada.[109] Edwards stated: "In Ontario, you had the Hells Angels and the people the Hells Angels let exist. They either worked with you or they didn't care about you.[110]

See also[edit]

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. ^ Cairns, Alan (20 April 2006). "A lifetime of crime". The Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-11-30. 
  4. ^ a b Caine 2012.
  5. ^ a b Langton 2010, p. 167.
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References[edit]