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

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letter: South Shuswap incorporation a foregone conclusion?

Writer overwhelmed with information at committee meeting

Snapshot: Valentine’s donations to Shuswap organizations

Shuswap SPCA, SAFE Society receive some love from SASCU Insurance

Sniffing out options for expansion of Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant

Public presented with nine site possibilities at open house, feedback to help narrow options

CHIME finds four days of noise, twelve days of silence from space

The radio telescope picked up the first recorded pattern in radio signals from space

Summerland’s Justin Kripps picks up back-to-back bronze medals in weekend racing

Canada’s two-man bobsleigh is third in the rankings heading into the World Championships

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

UBCO announces new top boss for Okanagan campus

Lesley Cormack will start in the position this summer

Nine West Kelowna athletes to go to B.C. Winter Games

The athletes will compete in biathlon and cross country ski

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Most Read