Hamilton

Toronto man pleads guilty to helping criminal organization tied to murder of Hamilton real estate agent

When Jamal Chemin was hired by a criminal organization to put a tracking device on Giorgio Barresi’s BMW in 2020, he wasn’t aware it would lead to the murder of the Hamilton real estate agent, says the Crown.

The Crown withdrew Jamal Chemin's 1st-degree murder charge in the death of Giorgio Barresi

man and woman holding wine
Giorgio Barresi, right, is pictured with his wife Sonia Horta-Barresi. He was shot and killed on their Stoney Creek driveway in 2020. (Hamilton Police Services/Youtube)

When Jamal Chemin was hired by a criminal organization to put a tracking device on Giorgio Barresi's BMW in 2020, he wasn't aware it would lead to the murder of the Hamilton real estate agent, says the Crown.

Chemin, 42, was initially charged last year with the first-degree murder of Barresi, a 42-year-old married father of three who was shot multiple times on his Stoney Creek driveway in 2020. 

Sorossa Moude, 28, was also charged with Barresi's murder and his case remains before the courts.

Last month, the Crown withdrew the murder charge against Chemin and he instead pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in activities of a criminal organization and two counts of possessing prohibited loaded firearms. 

Crown attorney Elise Quinn and Chemin's defence lawyer Adam Newman jointly requested an eight-year prison sentence, which Justice Joe Fiorucci granted on March 28 at Hamilton's Ontario Court of Justice.

"Some of the steps taken by Mr. Chemin ultimately served to assist the organization in its purpose to commit murder, however Mr. Chemin had no knowledge that his actions were related to murder or any other violent crime," Quinn told the court.

Motivated by money, says Crown

In the months leading up to Barresi's murder, Chemin was hired by a criminal organization to track Barresi's movements, Quinn said. Chemin, who was living in Toronto, drove to Hamilton on two occasions to put tracking devices on Barresi's vehicles — a BMW and then pickup truck. 

"The motivation was monetary," Quinn said. "Unknown to Chemin, the organization had decided to carry out the murder of Barresi." 

Chemin had no involvement in the planning and wasn't there on the night Barresi was killed, on March 2, 2020, said Quinn. 

An assailant was hiding in the shrubs outside Barresi's house, emerging when Barresi got home and exited his truck, said Barresi's best friend Robert Bucciarelli, who read a victim impact statement to the court during Chemin's sentencing. 

Man at a police podium.
Roberto Bucciarelli, Giorgio Barresi's best friend, spoke at a police news conference in September 2023, when the murder charges and arrests were announced. (Cara Nickerson/CBC)

He was shot multiple times at close range but tried to fight, said Bucciarelli. One of his children heard the "chilling exchange" from inside the house.

Barresi died on the concrete driveway, he said. 

"Jamal Chemin, you are pleading guilty to being part of a criminal organization that caused this to happen," Bucciarelli said. "I have and will continue to fight until all those responsible are made to answer for what they have done." 

Chemin declined to address the court, except to agree to the claims read aloud by Quinn in the agreed statement of facts.

Handguns, tracking devices kept at Toronto office

Chemin's arrest was part of Project Skyfall — a joint effort between Hamilton police and the RCMP to crackdown on a drug trafficking syndicate involving organized crime, Det. Sgt. Jim Callender said during a news conference last September. 

Police had information indicating Barresi also had been linked to organized crime, Callender said. 

A Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso previously told CBC Hamilton Barresi may have had ties to the Musitano crime family and allegedly was involved in illegal betting, gaming and gambling.

Through their investigation, police had executed a search warrant at Chemin's Scarborough office, attached to a large warehouse. In a digital floor safe they discovered handguns, a revolver and other restricted and prohibited firearms, most with altered serial numbers, as well as ammunition, tracking devices and an "extremely lifelike" mask, said Quinn. 

Chemin has an "extensive" criminal record under a different last name that bans him from owning firearms, she noted. One of those charges was related to participating in organized crime activities in 2013. 

Justice Fiorucci said the items seized at Chemin's office and his criminal record "demonstrate he's deeply immersed in the criminal subculture." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Beattie is a reporter for CBC Hamilton. She has also worked for CBC Toronto and as a Senior Reporter at HuffPost Canada. Before that, she dived into local politics as a Toronto Star reporter covering city hall.

With files from Cara Nickerson, Dan Taekema