Knew of no plot to kill Toronto Bandidos, Winnipeg biker testifies

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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LONDON, Ont. - Marcelo Aravena says he went to Wayne Kellestine's southwestern Ontario farm to impress the Bandidos motorcycle gang.
Aravena said he didn't know the trip would have him fearing for his own life after watching three of eight Toronto bikers shot to death on April 8, 2006.
Aravena, 33, is a mixed martial artist with a learning disability and one of the six men on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of the eight Toronto bikers.
He began his testimony Monday adamant that he travelled to Ontario to become a biker and denying he knew of any plot to kill members of the Toronto Bandidos chapter that night.
By the end of the day, Aravena's testimony had reached the moment the Toronto Bandidos arrived at the Kellestine farm.
Defence lawyer Kathryn Wells had mapped out a framework in an opening address to the jury, telling them Aravena had watched as Toronto Bandidos John Muscedere, Paul Sinopoli and Jamie Flanz were shot.
She said Aravena watched in horror when Kellestine killed Muscedere, and listened to Kellestine's chilling warning.
"I ain't doing 25 years for you," Kellestine said to him. "If you say anything, I'm going to kill you and your family."
Those words, Wells said, convinced Aravena to toe the line for the rest of the night, fearful he could be the next man to die.
"He will testify for you and wants to testify so you know what really happened," Wells said.
Aravena is giving the third version of events surrounding the deaths of the men whose bodies were found in abandoned vehicles along a rural road.
The jury has heard from the Crown's star witness, a Winnipeg Bandido who can only be identified as M.H., and from Michael Sandham, one of the accused and the purported president of the probationary Winnipeg Bandidos chapter who finished his testimony last week.
Aravena told the court he had difficulties in school and dropped out when he was 17.
He had a passion for martial arts and became a professional fighter, with bouts seven or eight times a year. His record was not enviable - seven wins, one draw and 32 losses.
He augmented his income with stints working for pizza joints and as security in Winnipeg bars.
He met Dwight Mushey at a club called Phat Daddy's where Mushey was a part owner.
Shattered after his cousin was gunned down in Winnipeg in 2005, Aravena said he turned to cocaine, both to sell and to use.
Aravena said he knew Mushey was hanging out with the Bandidos in the summer of 2005. He had met Sandham then and knew him as "president of the Bandidos." Gardiner became a good friend. He also met M.H.
He moved in with Mushey and Brett Gardiner on Lindsay Avenue in Winnipeg in early 2006. Aravena said he wasn't interested in joining the bikers until after he started living with Mushey.
Aravena said Gardiner woke him up one day in March 2006 to say the group was going to Ontario and if things went well they could be Bandidos prospects.
He said he met Kellestine the first time at the farm. "He had crazy long hair, no shirt and a gigantic smile on," Aravena said. "I thought he was a bit of a weirdo."
The group went hunting in the woods and he saw Kellestine take a bite out of what appeared to be raccoon feces. "It was funny, he was a funny guy," Aravena said.
On the day of the shootings, Aravena said, Kellestine brought out guns to be cleaned and Sandham passed out gloves. Aravena said he, Gardiner and Mather had them on, but took them off later when their hands became sweaty.
Aravena continues his testimony Wednesday.

Organizations: Toronto Bandidos

Geographic location: Winnipeg, Ontario, Toronto LONDON Lindsay Avenue

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