A SENIOR Finks bikie was
the target of a group of Hells Angels nominees who
stormed a Pooraka workshop and mistakenly gunned down
owner Jason De Ieso, police have revealed.
Just 10 minutes earlier,
Finks member Charlie Bonnici had left the workshop before
the nine men – four of whom fired a volley of shots – burst
into Unique Custom Paint & Panel.
Mr De Ieso, who was shot
in the head, died instantly. It was the culmination of four
days of feuding between Hells Angels north crew wannabes and
members of the Finks.
While Mr De Ieso knew
several members of the Finks because they used his
spray-painting skills, he was not an associate or intending
to become a member.
Major Crime task Force detectives
have identified the nine young men they believe stormed into the
workshop on November 21, 2012 – although one of them has since taken
his own life.
They had been involved in several
violent incidents in the previous few days as they feuded with Finks
These included a violent brawl at
a kickboxing tournament, the firebombing of a house occupied by one
of the nine suspects and the trashing of a tattoo parlour a short
time before the shooting.
The nine men also had been seeking
Mr Bonnici at the tattoo parlour but had narrowly missed catching
him there, prompting their visit to Mr De Ieso’s workshop about 30
While Mr Bonnici narrowly escaped
both incidents, he was brutally bashed at the hands of fellow Finks
bikie gang members three months later.
Since the shooting of Mr De Ieso,
six of the suspects have become full members of the Hells Angels
with the shooting contributing to their promotions.
Seven of the nine have spent time
in prison after being convicted of serious crimes.
“We are reasonably confident we
can identify who they are,’’ Major Crime operations inspector Greg
“The investigation has progressed
significantly since the shooting. It will continue to gather the
last pieces of evidence in attempt to bring it to a resolution,
particularly for Jason’s family.’’
In recent months, considerable
forensic work has been done to obtain clearer images from security
vision of the suspects taken at the shooting scene.
Of particular interest is an image
of one suspect whose hoodie slipped from his head as he was leaving
the workshop, revealing he had a scar on his head and a distinctive
tattoo on the back of his neck.
In the weeks that followed the
fatal shooting, police launched a blitz on both gangs dubbed
Operation Alpha, in an effort to both quell the violence and try to
solve the murder.
It resulted in 89 arrests for a
variety of offences and 84 premises being searched.
The 30 officers involved seized 24
firearms, 600 rounds of ammunition, 38 other weapons including OC
spray and a pipe bomb and $47,000 in cash.
While the operation succeeded in
ending the outbreak of violence, the murder investigation remains
The case is somewhat of a paradox
for police. Unlike the vast majority of murders committed, they have
a long list of suspects, multiple witnesses, a clear motive and
And yet, despite this, the case is
proving extremely difficult to solve.
Not even the promise of a $500,000
reward has been enough of an incentive for one of those involved
with the group to break ranks.
By their very nature, bikies tend
to instil fear in people – especially those who can help police.
Retribution against witnesses has
been well documented, although many inroads have been made to
counter this activity in recent years.
Insp Hutchins said the shooting of
Mr De Ieso had been no different with not just suspects but others
with knowledge also reluctant to assist.
“There were nine people there and
they are obviously not going to inform on each other, so you then
move to the periphery witnesses,” he said.
“Due to the outlaw motorcycle gang
connection, people are declining to come forward and tell us what
“This job can probably be
described as being somewhat like a house of cards – as difficult as
it is, you only need one wedge to open it up and the whole pack of
cards can crumble.”