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Police reveal Pooraka spray painter Jason De Ieso was innocent victim of feud between rival bikie gangs

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.

Murder victim Jason De Ieso.

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 members.

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 minutes later.

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 Hutchins said.

“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 open.

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 considerable evidence.

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 they know.

“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.”