Revenge talk between four men just ‘macho nonsense,’ murder trial hears

Revenge talk just 'macho nonsense,' trial hears

TORONTO — Three men who sent each other text messages advocating revenge against a rival were simply engaging in “macho nonsense,” not plotting a murder, a defence lawyer told a Toronto courtroom Wednesday.

All the messages show is “people play-acting like they’re in a Scorsese movie or something” in order to appear tough, lawyer Alan Gold said.

And while the group may have wanted retribution against John Raposo, they sought to get it by stealing a shipment of drugs worth millions of dollars from him, not by having him killed, he said.

“It was a drug conversation, not a killing conversation,” the lawyer argued in his closing submissions.

Prosecutors allege a thirst for money and revenge led the men, all of whom were involved in cocaine trafficking, to orchestrate a hit on Raposo, who was also a drug trader.

They argue the group believed Raposo had ratted one of them out to authorities, which resulted in a raid.

The Crown alleges Nicola Nero, Martino Caputo and Rabih Alkhalil were the masterminds of the plan, while a fourth accused, Dean Wiwchar, was the contract killer tasked with carrying out the job.

It’s alleged Wiwchar came from Vancouver and dressed up as a construction worker — complete with hard hat, reflective vest and dust mask, as well as a wig — to shoot Raposo in the head and neck in broad daylight.

All four are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

Raposo was fatally shot on the patio of the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe on the afternoon of June 18, 2012, as soccer fans gathered to watch a Euro Cup game.

Wiwchar was arrested three days later. Nero and Caputo were arrested in early 2013 â€” the latter in Germany â€” and Alkhalil was arrested in Greece the following year.

During trial, jurors saw a series of encrypted messages intercepted by police as part of an investigation into Nero’s alleged drug activities.

Earlier Wednesday, the Crown argued those messages linked the four accused, who addressed each other by nicknames, and laid out their plans for Rapozo’s death.

In at least one of those messages, Nero called Raposo a “rat” who deserved to die for the harm he had caused.

“This is macho trash talk from a bunch of criminals,” Gold, who represents Nero, told the court.

Saying you want someone dead doesn’t make you a party to murder, he said, arguing there is “simply no evidence of him doing anything.”

What’s more, roughly a quarter of the text conversations presented in court don’t even include Nero because they were sent after May 23, 2012 â€” the day he was arrested on drug charges and put behind bars, where he remains to this day, the lawyer said.

Gold urged the jury not to be swayed by the fact that his client was far from an upstanding citizen, with a “deplorable lifestyle of illegal money,” saying none of that makes him a murderer. 

Defence lawyers for Caputo, Alkhalil and Wiwchar are expected to give their closing submissions Thursday.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Hope Hospice tree brings Christmas cheer

Passers-by can use the provided tags to write the name of friends, family or even pets that have passed

Corruption no longer dogs Yale First Nation

A return to traditional governance helps to turn the tide

Emil Anderson earns multiple provincial contractor awards

Family-run companies with a long history in the FV were recognized for excellence in grading and community service

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Homes in Hope sparkling for the holidays: Part 2

Hope photographer Ray Daws shares some festive sights

VIDEO: balloons and games and music at Basic for Babies in Langley

Event helps Food Banks stock supplies for infants

Kamloops RCMP warning public to stay away from unfolding domestic dispute

The public is being asked to avoid Sabiston Creek Road off of the highway

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read