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

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

New hospital recruits more junior volunteers

Ten students from GidGalang Kuuyas Naay are volunteering at the Haida Gwaii Hospital/Ngaaysdll Naay.

School counsellors share tips for a kinder, low-stress holiday season

Walk the beach, enjoy a hot bath, play games with family or… Continue reading

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Girls volleyball team scores a first for Masset

Play five times a week, mixing in three kick-butt coaches, one lucky… Continue reading

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

#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

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

B.C. Interior First Nation create a community radio station

The Tsilhqot’in National Government is developing a radio station to promote language revitalization and create unity

Most Read