Bar manager denies offering bribe to employee shot in back

The general manager of the Boom Boom Room at the time of an October 2014 shooting vehemently denied Wednesday that he offered any bribe to the victim to say the shooting happened outside the club.

Renaldo Agostino, whose twin brother Remo owned the club when usher Devonte Pierce was shot, repeatedly denied in court an accusation by Pierce that the brothers had visited his hospital room and attempted to bribe him.

Defence lawyer Julie Santarossa suggested that Renaldo and his brother had offered $350 for Pierce to change his story, and Agostino became agitated.

“That is not true,” Agostino said.

“I have never paid Devonte or proposed to pay him to say something for monetary gain.”

Two Brampton men are currently standing trial for the Oct. 5, 2014 shooting.

Kevin Mantley Nyadu, 22, is charged with attempted murder and five firearm offences. Shadrack Kwame Amankwa, 26, is charged with being an accessory to attempted murder, as well as five firearm offences.

At the time of the incident, Amankwa was bound by a court order prohibiting him from possessing any firearm or ammunition. Nyadu is additionally charged with two breaches of a court order.

Pierce, 20 at the time, was shot in the back, the 9mm bullet narrowly missing his spine. He suffered damage to a kidney.

Agostino repeatedly denied any attempt to create the impression the shooting occurred outside the club to decrease potential liability.

“I said from Day 1 that I was aware that the shooting was inside the club,” Agostino said.

Agostino also said that Pierce had visited the club since the shooting and he has played basketball with him many times since the incident.

Agostino testified that earlier in the evening there had been an altercation toward the back of the bar involving “two gentlemen and their friends” and another group.

He said one of the men was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies cap and the other was wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers cap.

“They said they were from Jane and Finch in Toronto,” Agostino testified.

When he told them they should be wearing Toronto sports team gear, one of the men pulled out a palm-sized necklace pendant of the Toronto skyline, Agostino said.

Agostino testified that later, after the shooting had occurred and he was assisting police in finding a shell casing, he heard chatter from people and on police radios of descriptions of suspects that matched those of the people he had encountered earlier.

When asked if there were security cameras in the bar that night, Agostino testified that there were, but they were not working and had not for some time.

Santarossa also pointed out discrepancies in Agostino’s testimony regarding the height of the alleged assailants, telling police in the hours after the incident that the men he had encountered were about five feet, five inches tall, but testifying Wednesday that they were five feet, 11 inches tall.

Defence lawyer Patricia Brown suggested that Agostino had tampered with the video surveillance after the incident to hide the fact the shooting occurred inside the bar.

“To the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) it doesn’t matter where it happened,” Agostino said.

“It’s not like there’s a rule that says if it happens outside you’re free and clear.”

Brown then showed Agostino a copy of a civil lawsuit that had yet to be served and it was not entered as evidence.

Agostino was asked by Santarossa if he could recall how much Pierce was paid that night.

“I don’t recall,” Agostino said. He said Pierce and other employees were generally paid in cash.

When asked if the Canada Revenue Agency was aware of the bar’s payroll, Agostino said he was not involved in the bookkeeping and did not know how payroll was handled.

Officers arrested Nyadu and Amankwa near Victoria Avenue and Park Street minutes after the shooting. In shrubs nearby they found a 9mm handgun.

The trial continues before Superior Court Justice J. Paul Howard on Thursday.


For update see: here