October 29, 2009 4:23 pm

Six men found guilty in murders of Toronto Bandidos bikers

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Six men accused in the execution-style slayings of members of the Toronto chapter of the Bandidos biker gang more than three years ago were found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday.

Following a trial that lasted more than seven months, the jury deliberated for a little more than a day and returned with its verdict shortly after the lunch hour Thursday, in a specially constructed high-security courtroom in London, Ont.

Wayne Kellestine, 60, accused of orchestrating the plan to kill his fellow bikers, was found guilty of eight counts of first-degree murder. So were his co-defendants Dwight Mushey, 41, and Michael Sandham, a 40-year-old former Winnipeg-area police officer-turned biker.

Frank Mather, 35, and a friend of Kellestine, and Marcelo Aravena, 33, a prospect in the Winnipeg Bandidos, were both convicted of one count of manslaughter and seven counts of first-degree murder.

Brett Gardiner, an associate of the Winnipeg Bandidos, was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter and six counts of first-degree murder.

The 2006 shooting on the farm owned by Kellestine near London -about 200 kilometres southwest of Toronto – was the worst mass murder in Ontario history.

The eight victims were John Muscedere, George Jessome, George Kriarakis, Luis Raposo, Frank Salerno, Paul Sinopoli, Jamie Flanz and Michael Trotta.

Their bodies were stuffed into cars and left along a side road, about 15 kilometres from the Kellestine property, on the morning of April 8, 2006.

All six defendants will receive automatic sentences of life in prison, with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

The meeting at the Kellestine property a day earlier was a "ruse," argued lead prosecutor Kevin Gowdey and it was not called simply to "pull their patches" and disband the Toronto chapter.

The evidence presented by the Crown suggested that only Kellestine, Mushey and Sandham shot any of the eight victims. But the Crown successfully argued the other defendants were guilty because they aided in the murder plan.

Kellestine was the "executioner" and the other defendants were his "henchmen" said Gowdey during his closing submissions last week.

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