MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA - MURDER COMES EASILY TO SOME PEOPLE
The murders of two men who were shot in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce five years ago involve a very twisted and complicated motive full of deceit, a jury was told on Monday.
Robert Simpson, 53, was the man who pulled the trigger in the murders of Kirk (Cowboy) Murray and Antonio Onesi, on Jan. 24, 2010, after they had been lured to the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant. In the months leading up to the murders, Simpson had been working as a bodyguard for a Nova Scotia resident named Jeffrey Albert Lynds. Simpson said Lynds was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels Nomad chapter based in Ontario when he agreed to work as his bodyguard.
Shortly after his arrest for the double-murder, Simpson decided to become a co-operating witness for the prosecution and Monday represented the first time he has taken the witness stand before a jury. Simpson made it clear early on in his testimony that he is no saint and said he had murdered at least seven people before becoming a prosecution witness. The man on trial, Leslie Greenwood, a 45-year-old Nova Scotia man, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is alleged to have been the getaway driver when Murray and Onesi were shot.
Initially, Simpson told the jury, his work with Lynds involved establishing the gang's drug trafficking presence in Nova Scotia, by selling drugs purchased in Montreal.
"(Late in 2009) there weren't any Hells Angels east of Ontario because all the Hells Angels were arrested in (Operation) SharQc (in April 2009)," Simpson said when asked by prosecutor Annabelle Sheppard why Lynds worked in Nova Scotia if he belonged to a chapter based in Ontario.
Simpson said that after he agreed to work with Lynds, the first major purchase of drugs the Hells Angel made was from a drug trafficker based in Verdun named Louis (Le Gros) Vigeant. As he would eventually explain, it was that purchase — 75 pounds of speed, 5000 ecstasy pills and two kilos of hashish — that set him on a path to carry out the two murders.
Simpson, a man who has spent almost all of his adult life behind bars, said that while he and Lynds sold the speed in Nova Scotia he began to question how Vigeant could get his hands on such a high quality version of the narcotic. Simpson said he also expressed concern to Lynds over how the speed was produced to look like candy. He said he advised Lynds that selling the pills was a great way "to get a (police) task force down here on us."
Lynds agreed with Simpson and ordered him to return the speed to Vigeant, which he did, Simpson told the jury. The dispute eventually resulted in Vigeant claiming Lynds owed him $40,000. Simpson said that some time near Christmas 2009, Lynds informed him that the Hells Angels had stripped him of his gang colours because Vigeant had complained to a Hells Angel who Simpson only knew by the nickname Sasquatch.
"He named Sasquatch as the guy who had taken his colours," Simpson said. "(Lynds) said that this came about as a result of Le Gros whining to Sasquatch."
Simpson said Lynds believed he could get his patch back if he settled his debt with Vigeant. While Lynds was trying to figure out what to do with the drug trafficker, an entirely different problem involving Murray and another man who worked for Lynds — a 54-year-old Montreal resident named Brian (Cato) McGuire — was playing out.
Murray called Lynds and said he wanted to have McGuire killed. Shortly after, Simpson said on Monday, McGuire also called Lynds and said he was going to send Murray down to Nova Scotia "with some heroin and he didn't want (Murray) to return."
Simpson explained that he and Lynds then hatched a plan to kill Murray and Onesi at Lynds's home, near Truro, N.S. As he understood it, Simpson said, Murray was to be killed and the heroin he brought down would be considered as payment, from McGuire, for the hit. But when Murray showed up without the heroin, Lynds called everything off. Instead, Simpson said, Lynds hatched a plan where he would use Murray to kill Vigeant and then Simpson would kill off Murray.
"He wanted to kill two birds with one stone," Simpson said, while adding later that Lynds promised Murray he'd get a patch in the Hells Angels if he killed Vigeant. It was a promise Lynds couldn't keep because he had been stripped of his gang colours, Simpson said. Murray, a man who had served time for killing two people, was very eager to become a Hells Angel but botched the hit on Vigeant, who escaped out of his home in Verdun after being shot and called 911.
The fact that Vigeant survived made things much worse for Lynds, Simpson said, especially if the Hells Angels learned he had offered a membership to Murray.
"(Lynds) was livid, fricking livid," Simpson recalled. "He said 'I need you to go down to Montreal and kill Cowboy."
Simpson's testimony ended at that point Monday and will resume Tuesday.