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

Monday, August 6, 2012

Authorities seek sentence for funeral home fire

A Quebec Court judge is expected to decide on Wednesday whether a 30-month sentence is appropriate punishment in the case of a man who helped firebomb a funeral home owned by relatives of reputed Mafia leader Vito Rizzuto.
Defence lawyer Alexandre Goyette and prosecutor David Simon made the joint recommendation for a sentence Monday afternoon at the Montreal courthouse.
Sounthone Chareunsouk has already served almost 19 months behind bars and would be left with 11 months to serve if Judge Denis Mondor accepts the recommendation.
“He is not the head (of a criminal organization) — far from it,” Goyette said while describing his client as a bit player who took orders from someone else, an individual who has never been identified in court. Goyette acknowledged, however, that the crime was serious because it was carried out at a time when many other fires were deliberately set in what appeared to be an internal conflict within the Mafia in Montreal.
Goyette noted that since his arrest Jan. 6, 2011, Chareunsouk has spent most of his time behind bars, in protective and isolated custody.
“He also has a son who was recently born that he has never seen,” Goyette said.
The fire was set on Jan. 6, 2011, at the Complexe FunĂ©raire Loreto, a business on Des Grandes Prairies Blvd. owned by Vito Rizzuto’s wife, Giovanna Cammalleri, and his sister, Maria Renda.
The small fire caused relatively little damage to the lobby of the funeral home but it appeared to be another part of a very violent internal conflict within the Mafia in Montreal. It was set just weeks after Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo, was fatally shot inside his home.
A summary of facts read in court in May, when Chareunsouk pleaded guilty to arson and arson by negligence, stated that he and Alexandre Toualy, 28, tossed a Molotov cocktail through a window at an entrance to the funeral home and then left in a Jeep Cherokee driven by Julien Bourassa-Richer, 28, who said in court that he had no idea what the other two had planned to do that night. An off-duty police officer saw part of what happened and called 911. The trio were arrested within minutes, a short distance from the funeral home.
When he made a failed attempt for bail, in March 2011, the court was told that Chareunsouk is known to police as being a member of a street gang affiliated with the Blues or Crips.
Chareunsouk, 32, has the more lengthy criminal record of the three men who took part in the firebombing. In January 2006, he was sentenced to a 27-month prison term for holding up a café with an accomplice while out on parole for a drug trafficking conviction. Both he and his accomplice were armed with fake handguns. While fleeing from police after the holdup, Chareunsouk and his accomplice smashed their getaway vehicle into another car, injuring two people.
While serving his sentence, he was denied parole due to his “propensity for violence,” according to Parole Board of Canada records. He eventually left prison after reaching his statutory release date, on July 16 2007. That was revoked three months later after he tested positive for cocaine during a test. In 2008, the parole board was informed that he had a drug problem, which started from a very young age, that he had never resolved despite being given the chance while he was behind bars.
Most of the people who have been convicted of arson, which plagued Montreal’s north end within the context of the internal conflict, were found to have serious problems with drug addiction or were looking to settle a drug debt.
Toualy and Bourassa-Richer are scheduled to have a sentencing hearing on Sept. 7.


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