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Blood, bullets and motorcycle oil

By Chris Summers
BBC News

Six members of a Canadian motorcycle gang have been jailed for life for murdering eight fellow bikers found shot to death in deepest Ontario. What lay behind the massacre?

Four of the killers
Killers and victims (L to R): Raposo, Muscedere, Kellestine and Sandham

Realising he and his friends had been betrayed and faced death, John "Boxer" Muscedere told his killers: "Do me. Do me first. I want to go out like a man."

Muscedere, who was betrayed by his best friend Wayne Kellestine, was one of eight men shot dead in a barn in Ontario.

Their bodies were found on 8 April 2006 in three cars and a tow truck which had been dumped in a field near the town of Shedden, 14km (10 miles) from where they had been killed.

THE KILLERS
Wayne Kellestine

Wayne Kellestine, 60 (pictured)
Michael Sandham, 39
Dwight Mushey, 41
Marcelo Aravena, 33
Frank Mather, 35
Brett Gardiner, 25

Ironically several of the men - suspects in another murder case - had been under surveillance by the Ontario Provincial Police only hours earlier.

All eight were associated with the Bandidos, one of North America's most notorious biker gangs and second only in power to the Hells Angels worldwide.

Schism

The motive for the bloodshed lay in a deep schism that had developed within the Bandidos' Canadian chapters.

The victims were members of the Toronto chapter, who were sponsored by the gang's Scandinavian wing but were not recognised by the Bandidos' head office in Texas.

Peter Edwards, a journalist with the Toronto Star and expert on the case, explained: "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."

The killers were led by Michael Sandham, a former soldier and police officer who became president of the Winnipeg chapter.

THE VICTIMS
John 'Boxer' Muscedere, 48
Luis 'Porkchop' Raposo, 41
George 'Pony' Jessome, 52
George 'Crash' Kriarakis, 28
Frank 'Bam Bam' Salerno, 43
Paul 'Big Paulie' Sinopoli, 30
Jamie 'Goldberg' Flanz, 37
Michael 'Little Mikey' Trotta, 31

Lured to death

He tried to claim that he had actually been working undercover for the police, but was unable to explain why he had initially denied being at the scene.

Sandham was helped by Kellestine, an Ontario native who was allied with the Winnipeg chapter.

The victims were lured to their deaths in his barn, after being told they would meet to settle their grievances.

When police arrived, they found blood smears and pieces of flesh amid the detritus of a biker party - beer bottles on a table and Confederate and Nazi flags hanging on a wall.

Kellestine and five of his buddies were arrested. Three years later they finally went on trial.

The star prosecution witness was another Bandido, known only as MH, who testified about the events leading up to the killings.

MH, who hailed from Winnipeg, told the court the original plan was to "pull the patches" of the Toronto members, effectively throwing them out of the Bandidos.

But Kellestine then decided they would have to kill all eight.

MH described a messy and farcical situation in which Kellestine frequently changed his mind about whether or not to let his rivals live and at one point allowed Muscedere to call his wife as long as he "didn't say anything stupid".

Bungling

He broke down as he described the stoic reaction of one of the men, Frank "Bammer" Salerno.

"Bammer went to shake my hand. I didn't do it," said MH.

BBC

MH said Kellestine had been promised that in return for carrying out the killings he would be named Canadian president of the Bandidos and could start up his own chapter based in nearby London, Ontario.

But Mr Edwards, who has covered the trial, said the killers were disorganised and bungling.

"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," he said.

Mr Edwards says they were forced to dump the cars with the bodies in because they were "too cheap to buy enough gasoline".

"They didn't even set fire to the bodies or the cars," he says.

All six men were jailed to life, which means they will not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years.

Victim impact statement from the families of the eight men were read out.

Muscedere's daughter, Tereasa, 24, said: "My daughter will never remember the tickle of my father's moustache or the way she loved to jump on the front of his Harley and pretend it was hers."

The massacre, and Thursday's convictions, have left the Bandidos effectively defunct in Canada.

According to Mr Edwards, there is very little public sympathy for the victims because they were bikers, and Canada has seen a lot of biker wars in the past.

Chris.Summers-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk



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SEE ALSO
Canadian bikers guilty of murder
30 Oct 09 |  Americas
Five charged over Canada killings
11 Apr 06 |  Americas
Eight bodies found at Canada farm
09 Apr 06 |  Americas
Victim of a global biker feud
28 Nov 08 |  UK
Biker club 'in Channel Islands'
19 Oct 07 |  Jersey

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