Lawyers for four men accused of gunning down a member of the Hells Angels, outside a Mississauga gym in March 2019, have asked a Brampton jury to clear their respective clients of first-degree murder.
The four men are on trial for allegedly plotting to kill full-patch Hells Angels biker Michael Deabaitua-Schulde, 32, of Mississauga, who was shot dead in broad daylight outside a busy Mississauga plaza on March 11, 2019. But defence counsel for all four men says there is no evidence the men were part of a planned and deliberate attack on the victim.
“There is no evidence of any connection or animosity between any of the defendants and the deceased,” said William Thompson, the lawyer for Marckens Vilme. “Or, any evidence of why they would’ve wanted to kill him.”
The Brampton trial heard that, at the time of his death, including the day he was killed, Deabaitua-Schulde, suspected of being a debt-collector, was constantly under surveillance by police as part of a Ontario Provincial Police probe into his suspected involvement in an alleged elaborate illegal gambling operation. Deabaitua-Schulde was observed by police collecting and delivering packages to numerous individuals.
A tracking device was also found on the Jeep he was driving at the time of his death.
Defence teams for Marckens Vilme and Brandon Reyes, who were 28 and 24, respectively, at the time of the shooting, say the Crown has failed to prove that the men were part of an orchestrated plot to kill Deabaitua-Schulde. Both men were arrested by Montreal police a few days after the killing.
Lawyers for Joseph Pallotta, then 38, and Marc Issa El-Khoury, then 26, also of Montreal, have attempted to refute the Crown’s claim, too.
Deabaitua-Schulde, 32, was a known member of the Niagara Region arm of the Hells Angels, the Star has learned.
He had been working out at the Huf Gym at the busy plaza at 700 Dundas St. E., near Cawthra Road, when he was shot six times after being approached by several people wearing dark clothing in the parking lot outside the gym.
Deabaitua-Schulde was shot at close range next to his vehicle and ran into the gym for help. Even though forensic evidence did indicate that two rounds found could have been fired from a silver .357 revolver found at the scene, they could have been fired from several other similar types of guns, the jury heard. Defence lawyers argued that Deabaitua-Schulde’s fingerprints were found on the gun.
Police found a torched blue Honda Civic near Rymal Road and Tomken Road. Witnesses said the suspects fled the area in a Honda.
The jury heard evidence and saw video of Vilme and Issa El-Khoury going to and from a downtown Toronto condo building, during a night of drinking the night before the shooting. Pallotta was captured on the cameras of a Mississauga Motel 6, where he was staying in the days leading up to the shooting. Pallotta and Reyes were also seen on video in the hallway of the motel. There is also evidence that Vilme and Issa El-Khoury visited the same Motel 6 the morning before the shooting.