Suspect in Woodbridge murder could be connected to Hamilton mobster's death
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, January 23, 2018 12:24PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 23, 2018 5:41PM EST
Police say that an unidentified suspect who fatally shot a 28-year-old woman in Woodbridge last March may also be responsible for the murder of reputed mobster Angelo Musitano in Hamilton two months later.
Mila Barberi was gunned down in broad daylight on March 14 as she sat in a car parked outside a business on Caster Avenue, in the Highway 7 and Weston Road area. Barberi’s boyfriend, identified as a 40-year-old man, was also wounded by the gunfire but sustained only minor injuries.
Musitano, meanwhile, was shot to death as he sat in his pickup truck in the driveway of his home on Chesapeake Drive in Hamilton on the afternoon of May 2.
At a news conference on Tuesday, detectives with both the York Regional Police and the Hamilton Police Service confirmed that the murders of both Barberi and Musitano are now being investigated jointly.
The news comes after investigators used surveillance footage to determine that one of the getaway vehicles used in the Barberi homicide, a black Honda Civic, was also used as a getaway vehicle in the murder of Musitano.
Police say that their investigations also suggest that the suspect or suspects undertook “sophisticated and extensive surveillance” of the victims prior to carrying out the homicides.
“The evidence connecting the murders of Mila Barberi and Angelo Musitano includes a similar modus operandi, the black Honda Civic and the physical appearance of the killer. There is also other evidence which I cannot get into at the time due to the ongoing investigations,” Hamilton Police Det. Sgt. Peter Thom told reporters at the news conference. “Investigators from York Regional and Hamilton police will now be working together to solve these two murders.”
Police initially said that the suspect in Barberi’s murder fled the area in a dark-coloured Jeep Grand Cherokee that was driven by an accomplice.
Police now say that the “extensive and meticulous review of surveillance footage from the area” has led them to conclude that the black Honda Civic was also used as a getaway vehicle.
They say that the Grand Cherokee and the Honda Civic were “travelling in tandem prior to the homicide.”
At some point, investigators say that the driver of the Civic parked the vehicle and got into the Grand Cherokee. The Cherokee was then driven directly to the parking lot on Caster Avenue, at which point the suspect got out and opened fire.
After the shooting, police say that the Cherokee was then driven back to the area where the Civic was parked and was deliberately set ablaze in a failed attempt to destroy evidence. Both suspects then got into the Civic and left the scene.
Police say that they have since concluded that the Civic used following Barberi’s murder is the same one that was seen in surveillance footage following Musitano’s murder.
The shooter in that case initially fled the scene in a burgundy 2006 Ford Fusion but promptly abandoned the vehicle and was seen entering the Civic about a one minute-drive away from the crime scene.
“They (the suspects) have made a number of mistakes and that is why we are here today,” York Regional Police Det. Sgt. Jim Killby told reporters on Tuesday. “I believe that they thought that they were using a clean vehicle to carry out this crime. The vehicle was stolen,( the Jeep Cherokee,) and they were able to park it and walk to what they believe was a clean vehicle. Quite frankly I don’t think they counted on their being a great deal of video surveillance.”
Barberi wasn’t intended victim
Barberi worked as a veterinarian assistant at both Kingsdale Animal Hospital in King City and Napa Valley Animal Hospital in Woodbridge.
Though police have previously described her murder as targeted, Killby said he doesn’t believe that she was the intended victim.
Killby, however, said that investigators “haven’t been able to establish” whether the shooter may have been targeting her boyfriend who was wounded in the shooting.
“Our investigation has led us to believe that Mila was not the intended target,” he said. “This was an intended attack on someone who was at that business that day but it wasn’t Mila.”
Killby said that the boyfriend and Barberi’s family have been cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
He said that he believes that there are “organized crime groups at work here,” though he said that investigators have not been able to “establish any links” between the victims and traditional organized crime.
“We just don’t know who the intended target was,” he said. “Our information that we got from the family themselves is that they have no idea who would be targeting them, there would be no reason why they were targeted and that is what we are dealing with at the moment.”
As part of the news conference on Tuesday, police also released about four minutes of surveillance footage which showed the suspect parking the Honda Civic prior to Barberi’s murder and walking towards the Grand Cherokee. The footage also shows the suspect driving away in the Civic following the shooting.