A Montreal man with ties to Montreal Mafia has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges two weeks before he was set to go on trial for the murders of four men in 2016.
CTV News confirmed Jonathan Massari, 41, entered the plea on three counts of conspiracy to commit murder Monday at the Gouin courthouse after the Crown and defence agreed to withdraw charges of first-degree murder he was facing.
Both sides also recommended the judge sentence Massari to 25 years in prison without being eligible for parole until after serving half his sentence. Family members of the victims will be able to make statements to the court at a hearing on March 13.
"The sentence that we suggest the judge impose is at the maximum of the range that is usually imposed for crimes of conspiracy for murder in the context of organized crime, which is the case here and the sentence also really is very close to a life sentence," said Crown prosecutor Isabelle Poulin in an interview Monday.
"Twenty-five years is … a lengthy sentence and we're very happy that society will be protected from this individual."
Massari was set to start a new trial next month after Justice Michel Pennou ordered a mistrial last fall. However, the guilty plea deal means he will be spared from the second trial, which was scheduled to last for two months.
According to an agreed statement of facts that Massari agreed to on Monday, he was an "active member of the traditional Italian organized crime" network in Montreal in 2016 and participated in the planning of the murders of Lorenzo Giordano and Rocco Sollecito, two lieutenants of late crime boss Vito Rizzuto. Massari also plotted the killings of brothers Vincenzo and Giuseppe Falduto.
The four victims were inside their vehicles during each of the killings, which spanned a three month-period.
In 2019, Quebec provincial police identified Dominico Scarfo, Guy Dion, and Marie-Josée Viau as accomplices in the four murders.
Projet Préméditer : cette #enquête amorcée en janvier dernier a permis de résoudre les meurtres de Rocco Sollecito, Vincenzo Falduto, Giuseppe Falduto et Lorenzo Giordano survenus en 2016. pic.twitter.com/9oClh5esXp — Sûreté du Québec (@sureteduquebec) October 16, 2019
In the first slaying, on March 1, 2016, a gunman shot Giordano while he was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car with his spouse outside the Carrefour Multisports fitness centre in Laval, Que.
On May 27, Sollecito was also shot and killed in his car on St-Elzear Boulevard, not far from his home in Laval. The bullets from the 9mm calibre Taurus gun tore through the passenger side window of his BMW X5, striking him in the right arm, neck and chest. Massari was waiting for the gunman on a getaway motorcycle.
Rocco Sollecito is brought into court in 2006.
On June 30, the Falduto brothers were killed at a farm belonging to two co-conspirators in St-Jude, Que. A gunman shot Giuseppe and Vincenzo while they were in their parked Audi A6. Massari destroyed their cellphones after the double murder.
The prosecution's theory in the case is that the four killings were ordered by Calabrian Mafia bosses Salvatore and Andrew Scoppa and that the brothers hired Massari and two others as "hitmen."
Andrew Scoppa was shot and killed on Oct. 21, 2019, in a parking lot in Pierrefonds-Roxboro, in the West Island.
Five months earlier, his 49-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of dozens of people in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Laval.
The Scoppa brothers were reputed to have been key players in the Montreal Mafia scene during the dismantling of the Rizzuto family.