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Before 2000: Peter Scarcella, the boss of the Toronto Sicilian Mafia family, quietly runs his empire from Vaughan, Ontario, near Toronto. He makes millions in mortgage scams and loan sharking. Although he has a criminal record, Scarcella has never served time in prison.
Late 2000/early 2001: Mike Modica enters Canada illegally. He has already served 14 years in a U.S. prison for his role in a heroin ring and, for that, was deported to his native Italy. Wanted in Italy for belonging to the mafia, a criminal organization in Italy, Modica flees to Canada.
In Toronto, Modica seeks out fellow Sicilian, Peter Scarcella. Scarcella takes Modica under his wing and gives him work, making Modica a part of Scarcella's crime family.
But, Modica is ruthless and ambitious; impatient for power and money. He begins to challenge Scarcella's authority.
Scarcella has been the boss of his Toronto Mafia family for two decades. His reign has gone unchallenged until Modica starts to put together his own crew, his own scams, and gets involved in drugs, an area that Scarcella has always stayed away from. Scarcella views Modica's actions as a betrayal to his authority as boss and for all the help he gave Modica in the past.
Scarcella calls a meeting with other Mafia members to decide what to do about Modica.
April 9, 2004: At the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, at 150 Interchange Way, in Toronto, thirty men, including Modica, arrive for a meeting to decide Modica's fate. Along with Scarcella and his crew, there are members of the local Calabrian Mafia, and Mafia members from New York, Montreal and Ottawa.
A member of the Hell's Angels, Paris Christoforou, and a Hell's Angels associate, Mark Peretz, who claim Modica owes them money, are invited to attend by Scarcella.
Also at the meeting is Raffaelle Delle Donne, Mike Marrese's driver, delivering pizzas for his boss.
Delle Donne is stunned to see so many high-level mob members, carrying weapons and accompanied by bodyguards, hanging out in the lobby of the hotel.
Accusations are made against Modica and Modica says nothing in his own defence. Scarcella withdraws his support of Modica, as do the New York mob members. It's clear that Modica no longer has anyone to protect him. He is vulnerable. This sends a signal that he can be killed.
Modica goes into hiding, but stays in contact with Marrese, even as Borrelli, Christoforou and Peretz, the bikers, comb the city for him.
Raffaele Delle Donne continues to drive Marrese to his Russian mistress on Queen's Quay and deliver papers for the mortgage frauds from lawyer to real estate broker and then to the bank.
Scarcella can't believe that his friend of 20 years, Marrese, is staying in touch with Modica. Scarcella realizes that the way to keep tabs on Modica is to use Raffaele Delle Donne as his spy. Scarcella, the boss of the mob family, orders Delle Donne to betray Marrese and Modica and become Scarcella's informant.
April 21, 2004: Modica wants to leave Canada, but needs a passport to do so. Delle Donne contacts a passport forger he knows and arranges a false passport for Modica. Marrese contacts Delle Donne and tells him where and when to meet Modica to hand over the false passport.
Delle Donne informs Borrelli and Christoforou that he will be meeting Modica, the man who owes them money, at California Sandwiches that night.
9:23 pm: Borrelli, Christoforou and Peretz assemble an arsenal of weapons—a Colt semi-automatic rifle and 9 mm revolvers—in their van and await Delle Donne's phone call.
9:25 pm: Delle Donne tells Borrelli that Marrese and Modica will be at the sandwich shop at 10:00 p.m. They get in the van and follow Delle Donne to California Sandwiches.
9:27 pm: Modica arrives at California Sandwiches Restaurant with Marrese. They sit at the back of the restaurant.
9:58 pm: Louise Russo and her daughter, Krista, park at the sandwich shop. Delle Donne arrives and parks his car in front of the entrance doors between Modica's car and Louise Russo's car. Russo's daughter, Krista, is waiting in the car for her mother.
Shortly after 10:00 pm: Delle Donne enters the restaurant. Louise Russo enters a few seconds behind him. Four teenagers are just leaving the restaurant and stand outside talking, near their cars, in front of the restaurant.
Borrelli, Christoforou, and Peretz see the four innocent teenagers and mistake them for their target. They think Modica is getting away and they open fire. Bullets shatter the door of the restaurant, hit the floor and walls.
As the shots are fired, Modica, and his bodyguards, already inside the sandwich shop, pull out their 9 mm handguns and run out the back of the restaurant.
A bullet fragment hits Louise Russo in the spine. She lies paralyzed on the floor. The man who brought the shooters to the restaurant, Delle Donne, leans over her and talks to her. At that moment, he realizes that it could be him lying paralyzed on the floor, that his friend and associates were willing to allow him to be caught in the line of fire, that he was considered expendable. To Delle Donne this is nothing less than a betrayal. He decides then that he is going to betray all of them and go to the police and tell them who is responsible for this botched hit. He decides to become a rat.
May 21, 2004: Police arrest Modica for being in the country illegally and deport him to Italy. Modica returns to his home in Sicily and gets into the construction business, building townhouses.
April 14, 2005
5:00 am: Borrelli, Scarcella, Peretz and Christoforou are arrested.
Officers enter Scarcella's home by breaking through the rear patio doors. He is asleep in bed with his wife at the time.
Police lay 100 charges against Scarcella and his associates. Scarcella, Borrelli, Peretz, and Christoforou are charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Borrelli, Peretz and Christoforou also face nine counts of attempted murder. Borrelli is charged with 23 firearms-related charges and Peretz and Christoforou are charged with 21 firearms-related offences.
A team of prominent lawyers represent the accused. Toronto defence lawyer John Rosen defends Scarcella. Rosen's most high-profile client was Paul Bernardo. James Lockyer, best known for his work on behalf of the wrongfully convicted, defends Peretz. Joseph Bloomenfeld defends Christoforou. Borrelli is represented by the Montreal lawyer Claude l'Ecuyer.
April 12, 2006: Judge David Watt sentences the five accused.
Stemming from the shooting of April 21, 2004, Paris Christoforou was convicted on nine counts of attempted murder and four gun offences. He is sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Antonio Borrelli is convicted on nine counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and five firearm offences and is sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Mark Peretz is convicted on nine counts of attempted murder and four firearms offences and is sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Peter Scarcella is convicted of conspiracy to murder Mike Modica in a plot not directly related to the shooting in which Louise Russo is left paralyzed. He is also convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and a firearms offence. He is sentenced to 11 years in prison and is eligible for parole in 2009.
Raffaele Delle Donne, refuses police protection and goes into hiding. The mob and bikers have put a contract out on him for $100,000. His wife and children are in witness protection.