Three guilty men in Mississauga murder of Hells Angel debt collector

Three of the four men accused of murdering a Hells Angels debt collector in Mississauga have been found guilty of first-degree murder by a Brampton jury.

The jury returned its verdict Thursday, convicting Marckens Vilme, Brandon Reyes and Joseph Pallotta of first-degree murder in the March 11, 2019 shooting of Michael Deabaitua-Schulde, 32, who was killed moments after leaving a a gym on a busy Mississauga plaza. .

The jury, which began its deliberations on Wednesday afternoon, separately found Marc Issa El-Khoury not guilty of the murder.

Speaking in court Thursday, Superior Court Judge Deena Baltman explained that a first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

“That is the sentence that will be imposed,” he said.

During his closing statement to the jury, prosecutor Brian McGuire argued that the men “acted as a team. They had one goal: that was murder.”

“This was not a botched robbery or pickup, but a planned and deliberate murder,” McGuire said, adding that the murder had the hallmarks of a gang-style murder. “These men were meant to be untraceable.”

At the trial, which began in October, the court heard how the killers were unaware that Deabaitua-Schulde, 32, was under police surveillance as part of an Ontario Provincial Police investigation into his alleged involvement in an elaborate murder investigation. illegal gambling, called the Hobart Project. .

On the day of his murder, OPP investigators followed the cyclist to the Huf Gym in the busy plaza at 700 Dundas St. E., near Cawthra Road, where Deabaitua-Schulde was captured on video leaving after his workout. Police saw the motorcyclist running towards the gym after he was shot.

Deabaitua-Schulde, a well-known member of the Niagara Region branch of the Hells Angels, was shot six times at close range.

“Call 911!” he could be heard pleading in a video that showed him running toward the gym pursued by armed men.

Prosecutors argued that Vilme and Reyes were the two main shooters, with Pallotta and Issa El-Khoury serving as getaway drivers.

Issa El-Khoury, who testified at the trial, was also found not guilty of the included misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter. At trial, his defense attorney, Gary Grill, argued that he had unknowingly been involved in what happened after a night of drinking with Vilme, an acquaintance who offered Issa El-Khoury a ride to Toronto from Montreal.

Issa El-Khoury testified that Vilme woke him up in a Brampton motel room on the morning of the murder. The other man told him that he wanted him to stay at the Motel 6 until his return, but Issa El-Khoury chose to accompany him on the trip that ended with Deabaitua-Schulde’s murder.

“A sober Issa El-Khoury might have realized that he was told that for his own good,” Grill said in his closing remarks. “Marc had no knowledge of what was going to happen that morning.”

At trial, witness evidence showed that Issa El-Khoury was observed sleeping in the killers’ Hyundai Sante Fe in the vicinity of Rymal Road.

“Is that the guy, whose only role is to chase off the killers after the shooting?” Grill said. “He is sleeping?”

Issa El-Khoury testified that he then drove away from the scene with Vilme and two other people in the Hyundai. He said two of the people sitting in the back got out and hailed a cab as the group headed back to Toronto.

Issa El-Khoury testified that Vilme told him the next morning that someone had died.

Both Vilme and Pallotta refused to address the court after the jury returned its verdict. Reyes opted for the opposite, saying: “I am not guilty of whatever people try to judge me. Only God can Judge Me.”

Jason Miller is a reporter for the Star based in Toronto, covering crime and justice in the Peel region. Contact him at email: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

Leave a Comment