CBC news has learned that two Calgary gang members convicted of murdering three people on New Year's Day 2009 at the Bolsa Restaurant in Calgary's southeast will get a new trial.
Nathan Zuccherato and Michael Roberto were found guilty in October 2011 of gunning down Sanjeev Mann, Aaron Bendle and Keni Su'a.
The gun exchange was part of an escalating, violent feud between two rival gangs — Fresh Off the Boat and FOB Killers.
The Crown agreed to a new trial for the pair after its star witness made a surprise confession to being the sole killer.
M.M. — a police informant — told Saskatchewan RCMP in 2011 that he had shot all three victims himself while being arrested for drinking and driving.
"I murdered Sanjeev Mann," read the RCMP confession transcript. "I murdered Aaron Bendle. I murdered Keni Su'a. I wanna be charged with three counts of first-degree murder."
The evidence was only disclosed to the Crown last year.
The matter has not yet been before the Court of Appeal, so the new trial hasn't officially been ordered, but — based on the Crown's consent — it is expected to happen at a hearing set for June 12.
Dressed like 'ninjas'
The main issue in the 2011 trial was the identification of the shooters, who were wearing masks. At least one witness testified the shooters were dressed like "ninjas."
The Crown made the case that Zuccherato and Real Honorio, who was convicted in a separate trial, entered the restaurant with their faces covered and began shooting.
According to court documents, the Crown believed the third shooter was Roberto — who was also masked and standing guard outside the restaurant.
Mann and Bendle were targeted in the daylight attack. Su’a, a 43-year-old construction worker, was eating in the restaurant and tried to escape but was beaten and gunned down in the parking lot.
The court had also heard details from M.M. in the overnight kidnapping of Bendle, who worked for Mann.
He said the kidnappers used Bendle’s phone to set up a meeting with Mann and once both were inside the restaurant gunmen went in to execute them.
A fourth man, Nicholas Hovanesian, was sentenced to 14 years for his role in the killings in March. Hovanesian pleaded guilty last year to kidnapping Bendle and accessory after the fact to murder.