Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Canadian gangster asks judge to grant him a separate trial in murder of Bonanno mobster

Raynald Desjardins wants his trial severed from co-accused in Montagna murder
A plan to hold one trial for the murder of Mob boss Salvatore Montagna beginning in January appears to be in doubt as the alleged head of the plot, Raynald Desjardins, wants to be tried on his own in French.
Three different motions were filed to Quebec’s Superior Court in advance of a hearing held Monday at the Gouin courthouse in northern Montreal. Desjardins, 60, is seeking to have his case severed from those of seven co-accused so it can be held in the language he is more comfortable in.
Another of the accused, Vittorio Mirarchi, 36, has been seeking to have a trial in English since April and, on Monday, lawyers representing the other six men charged in connection with Montagna’s murder said they also want to be tried in English. For its part, the Crown wants one trial to be held before a bilingual jury.
Desjardins and Mirarchi face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy along with five other men; Calogero Milioto, 43, Steven Fracas, 29, Jack Simpson, 72, Pietro Magistrale, 62, and Steven D’Addario, 36. Felice Racaniello, 29, is only charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.
Montagna died, on Nov. 24, 2011, after he was shot in Charlemagne, a town just east of Montreal. At the time, the Mafia in Montreal was involved in a complicated internal conflict.
The eight accused were arrested at different points in time following Montagna’s death. They were originally charged in Joliette court but, in January, a Superior Court judge agreed to a change-of-venue request and the case was transferred to the Laval courthouse. For security reasons, Monday’s hearing was held at the Gouin courthouse, which WAS specially designed for cases involving many accused.
Most of what was discussed during Monday’s hearing cannot be reported on because of a publication ban. For the most part, Justice Michael Stober used the pretrial conference hearing to sort through, and update the status of, several legal motions that will be argued before the trial begins.
Under the current timetable, the jury trial would begin on January 5 and could last anywhere between six and 12 months. But Stober said Monday that at the rate the list of motions is growing he might still be hearing legal arguments well into early next year.
Stober was also informed that Desjardins’s lawyer, Marc Labelle, likely won’t even be available for a trial if it is held in January. Labelle is already scheduled to be one of roughly four dozen lawyers who will represent clients in two trials related to Project SharQc, an investigation involving the Hells Angels, which are expected to begin in the coming months. Stober, who was assigned to the Montagna murder case in April, said Monday was the first time he was informed of the major scheduling conflict. Labelle was not available to explain his side of the story Monday morning because he represented Emma Czornobaj, 25, at the Montreal courthouse in her jury trial on charges she caused the death of two people after stopping her car on a highway in Candiac. The jury in Czornobaj’s trial received instructions from the presiding judge, Justice Eliane Perreault, on Monday.



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