Documentary, ‘Some Sort of Judas’ explores hidden underworld.

Readers may remember that Scarborough-based thug and aspiring rapper Mark Moore killed two young men in Weston in late 2010 causing a great deal of anxiety. TVO is showing a powerful documentary first broadcast in 2017. Entitled, ‘Some Sort of Judas‘, it explores gun and gang culture while referencing the killing spree perpetrated by Mark Moore. The focus is also on Kevin Williams, the man whose testimony brought Moore to justice. It’s told largely from his point of view and judging by the scenery, Williams seems to be living a new life away from Toronto, fearing retribution after his role as an informant.

The documentary explores the cultural conditions that create violent psychopaths like Moore and equally grotesque hangers-on like Williams.

Williams, an allegedly talented rapper; rap name, ‘Mayhem Morearty’, hung around with the violent and unpredictable Moore (both were from the Lawrence Heights area, aka ‘The Jungle’). In an effort to get street cred for his rap efforts, he accompanied Moore on criminal ventures including a jewellery store heist and two killings. In the perverted world of Moore and Williams, killing someone enhances your reputation.

Event timeline:

August 9, 2010: Moore and Williams hold up Arax Jewellers and take $250,000 – $500,000 worth of items (estimates vary). A clerk was shot when hit by a ricocheting bullet. In the documentary, Williams claims that Moore stiffed him when the loot was divided and that’s why he became an informant. So much for honour amongst thieves.

September 10, 2010: Jahmeel Spence 27 shot in Scarborough. Mother Beverly Spence (this was the second of her sons to be murdered) calls Moore a vampire for spilling innocent blood and the excessive number of shots used. In one scene she is shown beside the grave of her two boys, the joint headstone missing Jahmeel’s inscription because of the $3500 cost.

After the Spence murder, Moore is unapologetic and texts Williams, ‘Watch CP24’ Williams does and replies, ‘LOL you’re funny ‘, but in the documentary, claims he was desensitized to violence thanks to his ‘lifestyle’.

September 29, 2010: Courthney Facey 18 and Mike James 23 (not known to police or Moore) are killed here in a Weston laneway on Sept. 29, 2010. Williams is present for the killings but claims he thought he and Moore were only going to the liquor store. He knew something bad was going to happen. The shooting occurs opposite the building where Moore was shot in the face in 2001. Facey’s mother working nearby, hears the commotion and sees her son placed in the ambulance. Ambulance workers tell her not to look at her son as he is disfigured by the shooting.

November 24, 2010: Carl Cole, 45 is standing in the parking lot at the rear of 65 Greenbrae Circuit, Scarborough. Moore and Cole are acquainted. Moore fires 22 shots at him. Cole dies of his injuries.

October 2011: Williams and Moore are arrested. Moore denies everything but Williams agrees to cooperate with police after 45 minutes of questioning.

April 30, 2013: Williams is inexplicably placed in a courthouse cell with Moore while waiting to give evidence against him. Williams leaves on a stretcher instead of testifying.

March 26, 2014: Mark Moore is sentenced to 12 years for the robbery of Arax Jewellers. Williams testifies against Moore and receives a reduced sentence of 10 years.

May 30, 2015: Mark Moore found guilty of four counts of murder based on Williams’ testimony. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

Williams comes from a fatherless background and seems determined to continue the cycle. He participated in a bank robbery at 15 and bought a gun with his share of the proceeds, using it for solo robberies. He talks of leading a Jeckyl and Hyde lifestyle and needed street ‘cred’ for his music so he hung around with Moore. Williams claims he almost felt responsible for the murders and says if he’d known what was about to happen, he wouldn’t have been in the vehicle with Moore. Later in the documentary Williams’ sentence is reduced as a result of testimony against Moore. Williams is asked if he has killed anyone and declines to comment. He now says he regrets his role as an informant.

Some other characters featured during the documentary:

Detective Hank Idsinga talks about the police viewpoint. Williams didn’t want to be considered a snitch but after 45 minutes of questioning tells police it was ‘Sparky’ – Mark Moore.

Boogz is an 18 year-old orphan living a feral lifestyle in Lawrence Heights and says if he goes to jail, he’ll have nothing to worry about because he’s never snitched.

Phil Dixon, community coach in Lawrence Heights knew both Moore and Williams as children and found them to be good kids with talent. Disturbingly, Dixon admits to possessing a gun, ‘for protection’ in his younger years.

Mike James’ mother who after the verdict says, “Kevin Williams is just as guilty as Moore because he didn’t come forward after the first killing”.

Williams’ naive girlfriend is shown pregnant with his child but she neglected to perform the due diligence that would have uncovered Williams’ more salient criminal background details and also three children with three other women. She unsurprisingly finds herself abandoned by him.

Cindy Bonnick mother of Courthney Facey talks of the fear of having a male child in the black community and the worry of raising a son in such an environment, being harassed by police, other males or killed randomly.

Moore is now serving life in prison for the four counts of murder plus an additional six years for the jailhouse assault on Williams.

The documentary is a depressing, disturbing and compelling look at lives that many children and adults lead here in Toronto. Making connections with children who are abandoned by their parent(s) would be the urgent takeaway from this powerful documentary and one that should be a top priority. How those connections are made depends on the determination of our politicians and community leaders.

We need to remember that these violent and psychopathic criminals begin their lives as innocent children.

Everyone should see this compelling  documentary. It was first shown last year but there are two more chances to see it this month on TVO:

Sunday June 17, 11:00 pm and Monday June 18, 4:00 am

It’s also available online here.

Farmers Market officially opens Saturday

Grandpa Ken checks on a couple of customers at last year’s market.

Weston’s 39 year-old farmers market will officially open its 2018 season this Saturday and there will be a few extras to the usual vendor displays. Toronto Police and Fire will be on hand as well as live music and drummers. This is the last year that the market will be operating at the UP Express parking lot on Weston Road as it will move to its new home on John Street next year.

The market’s hours are 7 am until 2 pm but this Saturday’s ‘extras’ will happen between 9 am and 1:30 pm.

Local man graduates from police college

Shevan Ellis in his cadet’s uniform.

Congratulations to local man Shevan Ellis who graduated from the Toronto Police College last week and is now working as a police constable in Toronto Police’s 53 Division. According to toronto.com, Mr. Ellis came to the Weston Road and Eglinton area from Jamaica in 1998 at the age of 12. He worked in Mount Dennis in the field of mental health and thought that he had something to offer the police in terms of an understanding of mental health issues.

Read more in TPS news and toronto.com.

Today in Weston; June 11, 2018.

 

A beautiful ‘spring’ day along the Pan Am Path that runs below and to the West of Weston Road. There’s a whole different world by the river in Cruickshank Park. This evening, a cyclist travels north towards where the trail ends at a set of steps (St Phillips and Weston Road). This part of the trail was built in 2013 and hopes were high that it would continue north. Instead, cyclists must haul their bikes up the steps and continue along Weston Road to Fairglen (where the trail continues) with fading sharrows their only protection from busy traffic. If the stair climb doesn’t get you, a driver on Instagram will.

The end of the trail.

Councillor Nunziata assures us that negotiations are allegedly ongoing with the landowners whose properties lie between one part of the trail and another. WestonWeb has long campaigned for a better network of bike paths and trails. Alas, five years later, we’re still waiting.

Update: for reference, here’s a picture of the stairs from the trail end to street level at Weston and St. Phillips. Climbing this is no mean feat.

 

No smoking at 10 Wilby.

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

Anticipating the impending legalizing of marijuana, Options For Homes announced on Friday that it will ban smoking anywhere inside or on the property of its new 22 storey condo apartment at 10 Wilby Crescent.

Non-smokers who live in apartments already may know that stale cigarette smell can drift insidiously through conduits and other gaps between apartments. The impending legality of marijuana has prompted OFH to get ahead of the game and ensure a smoke-free environment for occupants. Vaping will be allowed – so it’s not a complete ban.

Re-writing an existing condominium corporation’s declaration to ban smoking in a building is a major undertaking requiring an 80% vote of owners in favour. Options For Homes feels that starting off with a no smoking ban will put the condo board ahead of the game and make the issue up front so that purchasers can make an informed decision. OFH claims that 75% of prospective purchasers are more likely to purchase in a smoke-free building.

Apparently landlords of rental buildings can ban smoking in all or part of a building and a rental building can eventually become smoke free by requiring new tenants to not smoke. Existing tenancy agreements must be honoured but once the smoker leaves, landlords can insist on no smoking from the new occupants.

Options for homes believe that their new smoke-free building will be a first for Toronto. Read more here.

Some election thoughts

The official York South-Weston election results are here. There were 37,296 votes cast or 50.56% of eligible voters who took the trouble to cast a ballot compared to 46.1% in 2014. Faisal Hassan 36.1% Mark DeMontis: 33% Laura Albanese: 28% Grad Murray: 2.5% Bonnie Hu: 0.6%

President Ford™ will be grasping the levers of power in a few short weeks. Every cloud has a silver lining and there will no doubt be initiatives from Mr. Ford’s team that will be good for the province. Even Mike Harris wasn’t all bad.

What lessons can we learn from this election and its result?

    1. Our electoral system needs reform. The popular vote was PC: 40.6%, NDP: 33.7%, LIB: 19.3%. The total progressive vote was 53% and yet because it was split, a government representing 40.5% of the electorate has absolute power for the next four years.
    2. Faisal Hassan fought well to win the seat for the NDP. He ran an effective campaign with a strong team that could be useful during October’s civic election. Let’s hope he can get up to speed quickly and be an effective voice for York South-Weston.
    3. Here in York South-Weston, local PC boy Mark DeMontis surfed the blue wave and almost eked out a victory. WestonWeb articles about him were insanely popular in terms of reader numbers so it was clear he would do well. I wonder if he regrets obeying orders from PCHQ to skip the debate.
    4. Local candidate Grad Murray bumped the riding’s share of Green Party votes by a mere tenth of a percentage point over the 2014 result. Let’s hope the well-spoken and knowledgeable Mr. Murray can stick around and build on his vote share. Ontario’s Green’s now have an actual MPP, meaning that they will have a seat at debates next time. Their share of the popular vote dropped from 4.84% to 4.64% so it’s not an unqualified success.
    5. Kathleen Wynne may be a decent person but she failed to support her candidates by rooting out and exposing the corruption and bad decision-making in her party. She had five years to distance herself from the scandals and boot from cabinet flagrant opportunists like Steven Del Duca and Glen Murray but failed to do so. Her cynical, last minute concession speech was designed to hobble the NDP, indicating that her true passion was power, not progressive policies. Her claim that strikes would be never ending under the NDP was straight from the Tory Party handbook.
    6. Doug Ford’s victory speech began at the same time as Kathleen Wynne’s resignation speech. Ford’s team has vast political experience so this was no accident. It may be an insight into Mr. Ford’s style of governing.
    7. On the subject of speeches, Andrea Horwath’s last night seemed irrationally exuberant. Admittedly, she has done well, becoming the Leader of the Opposition by moving to the left of her 2014 stance.  Even so, some of her election promises seemed on the fly and not well thought out. For example, doing away with ‘Time Of Use’ hydro billing would have compromised conservation attempts and battery technology applications. Excessive subsidy of hydro bills goes against energy conservation. Far better to put the money into getting people off heating homes with electricity.
    8. York South-Weston’s fragile economy will be done no favours by Mr Ford freezing the minimum wage at $14. The promised ending of provincial income tax for these workers will do little to soften a potential $1800 annual loss.
    9. The end of Carbon Tax money may mean problems for the Mount Dennis Net Zero initiative.
    10. The Eglinton Crosstown line was scheduled to run above ground along Eglinton past Scarlett on its way (eventually) to the Airport. Defeated Etobicoke Centre MPP, Yvan Baker was a proponent of burying the line. Look for Doug Ford to endorse that (very expensive) concept.
    11. Lastly, while every cloud has a silver lining, the need for Mr. Ford to find billions of dollars out of thin air will target the most vulnerable in York South-Weston and elsewhere in Toronto. New MPP Hassan should make it a priority to anticipate and publicize the ‘efficiencies’ that will have an adverse effect on his most vulnerable constituents.

Hassan wins in York South–Weston

The polls in York South–Weston closed late because our riding was a bit of a nail-biter. In the end, Faisal Hassan of the NDP won in a tight three-way race.

From The Star

Hassan took 36% of the vote, squeaking past an very strong showing from Mark DeMontis, who earned 33%. Long-time MPP Laura Albanese came in third with 28%.

 

Weston is part of the city wall surrounding Toronto, which voted almost entirely orange—in stark contrast to the rest of rural and suburban Southern Ontario.

From the CBC

That the NDP won is no great surprise. We’ve long been a centre-left riding. The big news is DeMontis’ support: he performed extremely well, riding a strong campaign and blue wave to near victory in a riding that gave the PCs only 11% of the vote in the last election.

The vote must sting Albanese, who served as a competent and reasonably-accomplished MPP. She lost through no great fault of her own, but because she was part of an inept and corrupt administration that tried to buy votes instead of staying true to its centrist principles.

Hassan will join an opposition party facing a bumbling PC leader for whom all politics is personal. Doug Ford has convictions but no principles—and we will all be sure to pay the price as he forms an evidence-free administration.

Now that the race is over, the marathon begins. Holding the PCs to account will be a test of endurance for the Hassan and the rest of the NDP.