Police informant denies pulling the trigger in gangland ambush

Article originally appeared in: Calgary Herald

CALGARY - A man who played a key role in a gang-related kidnapping and triple homicide at Bolsa Restaurant on New Year’s Day 2009 denied that he was one of the shooters.

“I’ve given more than enough evidence to be convicted of three counts of first-degree murder,” M.M., a former FOB gang associate, told defence lawyer Tonii Roulston in cross-examination Thursday.

“But I never said I pulled the trigger. I told police if I do a few years for this, that’s okay,” said M.M., who has been given immunity by police for his evidence.

Roulston suggested M.M. had plenty of motive to kill rival FK gangster Sanjeev Mann, because he believed Mann had murdered his friend Roger Chin, an FOB member, on July 5, 2008.

The lawyer said he also had reason to get back at Mann because Mann had threatened to stab him when he was in high school in 2001.

However, M.M. minimized his friendship with Chin, saying he really only knew him from prison. He also said if he wanted to get back at Mann for the school incident he could have done it years before.

M.M. also admitted he did not like FOB member Nathan Zuccherato, as Zuccherato had helped beat him up at Drumheller prison, but said he did nothing wrong that put him in prison.

When asked why he wrote an email that said, ‘Nice. Ha. Ha’ to his police handler, Det. Gavin Walker, after Zuccherato and Roberto were convicted of three counts of first-degree murder last October, M.M. at first denied writing the note.

Finally, he admitted, “I wrote it.”

“I spent about three weeks after I testified stressing if this guy (Zuccherato) was going to get released,” M.M. said.

M.M. said Zuccherato was heavily involved in the kidnapping of Bendle and was one of the shooters, along with Michael Roberto and [The Accused].

[The Accused], 28, is on trial for three counts of first-degree murder.

M.M. admitted he minimized his role in the kidnapping and slayings for more than a year, through two taped police interviews, until he finally “came clean” in a third interview on May 19, 2010.

Mann, 23, and Bendle, 21, were gunned down by two masked men in the restaurant. Bystander Keni S’ua, 43, was believed to be mistaken for Mann and gunned down by a third disguised gunman when he ran out of the eatery and into the parking lot.

M.M. admitted he lied to police in his first two recorded statements on Jan. 9, 2009, and June 17, 2009, to minimize his role.

M.M., who cannot be named in order to protect his identity, testified on Wednesday that he hatched the kidnapping and murder plan in December 2008 after a chance meeting with Bendle to buy drugs.

He said he told fellow FOB members he discovered that Bendle worked for Mann and they wanted to kill him because they believed Mann had fatally shot FOB member Roger Chin.

“Originally, we’d go kidnap Aaron and use him to set up a meeting with Sanj,” M.M. told Crown prosecutor Susan Karpa. “Nathan Zuccherato and Mike Roberto would go in and once Sanj was murdered, then Chinaman ([The Accused]) and I would take Aaron out of town and kill him.”

That plan, which he said was discussed after Boxing Day at a home on Elgin Way S.E. in MacKenzie Towne, was supposed to be executed on Dec. 31, 2008, but was delayed.

The group then went with Bendle to his home to get another phone to use to text with Mann, and also robbed him of his drugs and money.

M.M. said he had a .357 Magnum gun in his track pants and told Bendle if he tried anything, he would kill him and his mother.

He said they then took Bendle to a home in Marda Loop and held him at gunpoint overnight. M.M. said the original intent was not to kill Bendle but, after having kept him all night, they had no choice as he knew their faces and names.

M.M. said [The Accused] rode with Bendle to Bolsa Restaurant after Zucherato received a text message from Mann, purporting to be Bendle, that indicated where he would be eating.

M.M. said and Nicholas Hovanesian, another gang member, were going to run interference for the shooters, so they would get away.

The trial before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman and jury continues.