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Friday, 5 February 2010

massacre of Bandidos Motorcycle Club members sheds more light on the lives of several York Region residents connected to the club.

The Bandido Massacre: A True Story of Bikers, Brotherhood and Betrayal, was compiled after three years of interviews and trial coverage said author and Toronto Star crime reporter Peter Edwards. The book published Tuesday.massacre of Bandidos Motorcycle Club members sheds more light on the lives of several York Region residents connected to the club. The outlaw biker club is perhaps best known publicly in Ontario for a mass murder and subsequent trial, which concluded late last year with the conviction of six men, after the bodies of eight bikers were found near Shedden, ON.
Among those murdered in 2006 were York residents Paul "Big Paul" Sinopoli, 30, of Jackson's Point, the secretary-general of the Bandidos Toronto chapter and Jamie "Goldberg" Flanz, 37, of Keswick.
The book offers a rare glimpse into the often insular biker realm. But rather than just its seedy, dark image, Mr. Edwards paints a different picture of some of the men.For instance, Mr. Flanz, owned a computer business and was a Bandido prospect for six months before his death, and Toronto's George Kriarakis, who reportedly had a strong marriage, likely wanted camaraderie, according to Mr. Edwards.In late October, six men, Wayne Kellestine, Frank Mather, along with Winnipeg residents Marcelo Aravena, Brett Gardiner, Michael Sandham - a former police officer - and Dwight Mushey were found guilty for their roles in the killings.The Texas headquarters of the club was upset with the Canadians for breaching club rules. The night of the murder, there was an attempt to rescind the membership of several men, Mr. Edwards wrote.Even before the Bandidos massacre, Mr. Flanz's home was connected to another violent incident.In December 2005, a 20-year-old woman, who is now in witness protection and who Mr. Edwards referred to as Mary Thompson, was in a home on Hattie Court, in Gerogina, owned by Mr. Flanz.Ms Thompson had experienced a rough home life and a car accident and a high school friend of hers recommended Flanz's home as a good place to stay, he said.
She got a room upstairs and had been there a few weeks when Keswick resident Shawn Douse, who Mr. Edwards described as a husband, father and drug dealer, arrived at the home. Mr. Flanz was not home at the time.After a confrontation about drugs, Mr. Douse was taken into the basement. Upstairs, Ms Thompson could hear Mr. Douse screaming, Mr. Edwards wrote.
Mr. Douse's body was later found in a north Pickering field.Four men, who Mr. Edwards has described as connected to the Bandidos, including Keswick resident Cameron Acorn, a Bandido, and former Keswick resident Bobby Quinn as well as Randy Brown of Jackson's Point, were later convicted in connection with Mr. Douse's death. An Oakville man was also convicted.Mr. Flanz had nothing to do with the death of Mr. Douse, according to Mr. Edwards.Mr. Flanz's home was simply a "good place to meet", Mr. Edwards said.Mr. Flanz had a good rapport with Ms Thompson, the book states."He was like a big brother," Mr. Edwards said. "(Ms Thompson) was terrified the next day, she listened to the beating, which was really traumatic and then the next morning she has to clean up the blood. Her reaction was more emotional more than anything else. There was also a real fear for her life ... that she's a witness and not really part of the group."In the book, Mr. Edwards thanks Mr. Douse's father for reminding him of the human toll the murder took.
Meanwhile, Mr. Edwards said Mr. Sinopoli weighed several hundred pounds and constantly fretted about his health. Mr. Edwards describes Mr. Sinopoli, a former security guard, as having "dabbled in selling drugs".However, he was well like, Mr. Edwards said.While acknowledging the men were outlaws, Mr. Edwards said it was important to show that they were also people."A lot of them are like people we went to high school with," he said. "They might not have been on the honour roll but they were still human. A lot of them, if they stayed around a little bit longer, they probably would have floated out of it. Sometimes it's the situation that makes people the way they are."
York Regional Police is monitoring the activities of outlaw biker groups in the region, investigative services Insp. Richard Crabtree said.Today, there are two outlaw biker clubhouses in York, including one in Keswick and one in King Township, York police said.Meanwhile, Mr. Edwards also writes about Francesco "Cisco" Lenti, a Vaughan man who court records show was the subject of a Hells Angels plot to curb his attempts at Bandidos expansion. In 2008, Mr. Lenti pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of David John "Dread" Buchanan the sergeant at arms for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club West Toronto chapter and aggravated assault for the wounding of another Hells Angel and a then-prospect member of the club. The shooting took place at a Vaughan club."He's what someone would call a one-percenter's one-percenter," Mr. Edwards said of Mr. Lenti, referring to the term by which some motorcycle riders identify themselves or are identified as being outlaws."If Lenti had been listened to, the massacre probably wouldn't have happened," Mr. Edwards said. "Lenti had a really strong, uneasy feeling about Sandham. There was something in his antennae about Sandham that he didn't trust."Mr. Edwards said he finds it unlikely that the Bandidos will make a push to expand into Ontario again soon. According to Mr. Edwards, the club is headquartered in the United States.
"The best of them were murdered and the worst of them went to prison for the murders," he said

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