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Notorious Calgary gangster and self-admitted killer now free

Michael Roberto. Global News

Global News has learned a notorious Calgary gangster who admitted to being a part of multiple fatal gang killings is now a free man.

Michael Roberto was scheduled to be released on warrant expiry April 25, 2021, but sources said he was released Friday.

Warrant expiry is the term used for an inmate who serves his entire prison sentence.

Roberto was originally convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in the New Year’s Day 2009 shootings at the Bolsa Restaurant.

Rival gangster Sanjeev Mann was killed along with Aaron Bendle and innocent bystander Keni Su’a.

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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However, before that happened, Roberto agreed to become a witness for the prosecution in exchange for partial immunity.

He pleaded guilty to lesser charges: three counts of conspiring to commit murder, discharging a restricted firearm with intent and commission of an offence for a criminal organization.

At the time, the prosecution called it a “deal with the devil” as the deal allowed Roberto to trade a life sentence for less than ten years in prison.

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

In a videotaped interview with Calgary police released to media in 2013, Roberto talked about the killings he was involved in.

“Five, and four of them were because of the war that I was involved in because I lost friends,” he said. “One was having to do business. Towards the end, I wasn’t even really about business or making money. It was always to get revenge because I lost people, I lost friends, and I knew they were coming after me so I wanted to get them first.”

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According to documents obtained by Global News from the Parole Board of Canada, his total sentence was seven years, nine months and one day.

In July 2020, Roberto was denied early release and the board deemed him likely “to commit an offence causing death or serious harm to another person before the expiration of his sentence.”

Roberto is not bound by any conditions.

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