This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
It’s not very often you get to give advice on how to pull off a murder—like four times tops—but, just so you all know, it’s probably best to know the name of the person you ask to kill someone.
It’s advice that an owner of a Winnipeg bodega (or convenience store, depending on where you live) should have heeded because he’s been sentenced to five years for asking a customer—whose name he didn’t even know—to kill his business partner.
According to the court documents, (which can be read in full here) the whole thing started with Amare Gebru, 44, and a female business partner purchasing Teddy’s Convenience store and accompanying laundromat with a 50/50 agreement. The partnership turned sour pretty quickly so Gebru decided to “punish” his partner. So, to do this, Gebru sought the help of one of his frequent customers.
The 28-year-old man said that Gebru first approached him in a laundromat, and testified that “prior to this time, they had exchanged nothing more than the usual perfunctory comments related to making purchases and cashing checks.” He also testified that at this time, he did not even know Gebru’s name as prior to the laundromat meeting, the two would only call each other “bro” and has no idea why he, in particular, was asked to be a hitman.
They kept calling each other “bro,” well, until a murder plan came together.
The man said that, at first, Gebru asked him to rob his business partner and “use pepper spray or punch her” as she deposited money at a nearby bank. Over time, this plan morphed into Gebru asking the man to kill his business partner—he told the man he would buy him a house and give him $10,000 if he did this. Gebru apparently wasn’t the pickiest of murder customers though, asking the man to “use a gun or a knife or do whatever he had to do to kill her.”
Well, at this point, shit was getting a little too intense for the customer and he met with Gebru’s business partner in the parking lot where the original robbery was to take place and told her about the plan. He urged the woman to contact police because “if it was not him who would kill her it would be somebody else.”
The woman called the cops, and Gebru was arrested shortly afterward.
As a defense, Gebru told the court that this customer was not hired for murder by him but his business partner. He said that the man jumped into his car with a gun but didn’t kill Gebru because “he was a good man.” Gebru also said that he scared this man away by raising a fist in front of him. The court found his testimony “not plausible.”
The CBC reports that after being found guilty of one count of both counseling to commit murder and counseling to commit robbery, Gebru and his lawyer fought for a sentence under six months, fearing the mandatory deportation order that comes with longer sentences. The two argued that it would see Gebru sent back to Ethiopia, which he immigrated from in 2006. Gebru and his counsel said that he opposed the Ethiopian government and would likely be jailed and possibly tortured upon his return.
In the end though, Gebru received five years as a result—he plans to appeal the decision.
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