Notorious Calgary gangster admits to killings, in exchange for partial immunity

CALGARY- A notorious Calgary gangster has admitted to his involvement in a shocking triple-murder, in exchange for partial immunity.

In court on Thursday, Michael Roberto admitted his role in the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting at Bolsa Restaurant that left three people dead—including innocent bystander Keni S’ua. He told prosecutors that he shot Sanjeev Mann while his associate Nathan Zuccherato killed Aaron Bendle. He believes Real Honorio is responsible for S’ua’s death.

He also admitted to playing a part in the death of Kevin Anaya, who was killed in a shooting back in 2008.

Roberto was previously convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in the Bolsa case, along with Zuccherato. However, a new trial was ordered after new evidence surfaced that the Crown’s star witness confessed to the murders to an RCMP officer.

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The Crown says that before his new trial was ordered, Roberto contacted a member of the Calgary Police Service to renounce his gang affiliation, and asking to become a witness.

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Roberto will now help the prosecution, in exchange for partial immunity. That means he will be convicted on lesser charges of conspiring to commit murder, and committing murder for the benefit of a crime organization.

The defence asked for Roberto to be sentenced to 16 years minus time already served, leaving him with seven years and nine months left in his sentence.

“He renounced his role in the gang culture, decided to try to make amends to get his life back on track,” says defence lawyer Paul Stern.  “In court he apologized to the loved ones of his victims, and he meant it.”

The justice approved the deal in exchange for Roberto’s testimony, saying it could help unsolved murder cases.

“I don’t think characterizing it as a ‘deal with the devil’ would be unfair,” says Crown prosecutor Brian Holtby. “It’s something that we don’t like to do, it’s very rare, but in this case we felt we had no other alternative.”

Due to security concerns Roberto will likely spend the remainder of his sentence in a prison outside of Alberta. As a result, the Calgary Police Service will give him up to $100 per month for long-distance phone calls, and pay up to $8,500 per year for friends and family to visit him. There is also a plan in place to keep him safe, so he is able to testify in all the trials.


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