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Sudbury man begged for his life before he was murdered

Devon Collin was gunned down near Wawa after drug dealer became angry, Sault court told

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Demitri Fortomaris heard a Sudbury man scream when he was murdered on the side of Highway 17 south of Wawa in spring 2019.

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Fortomaris, of Mississauga, Ont., pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder of Devon Collin, 32, during a virtual hearing before Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday.

Fortomaris was driving a black Infiniti SUV when he was directed by a man he knew as E, to pull over. Fortomaris was travelling with E to sell drugs in Northern Ontario.

E’s name was not released in an agreed statement of facts. He has yet to stand trial for first-degree murder. None of the allegations made by Fortomaris against E have been proven in court.

E told Fortomaris “he was going to do a stain” after they left a general store in Wawa on May 29, 2019, Crown attorney Susan Stothart told the court.

Fortomaris said he thought E was describing plans to rob someone.

He said he pulled the SUV over five km south of Wawa. E pointed a gun at Collin. Fortomaris could hear E yelling at Collin and the Nickel City man “begging for his life,” said Stothart.

E told Collin to walk into the woods. As Collin entered the treeline, E walked back to the SUV and shot at him several times.

“Fortomaris hard Devon scream and only E returned to the car,” said Stothart.

The pair resumed driving to Sudbury while E cleaned his gun “and was laughing about what had just happened.”

Collin and a woman, also from Sudbury, had joined Fortomaris and E in Sudbury.

They went to Timmins to sell purple fentanyl, cocaine and crystal meth. Collin was “supposed to use his contacts to sell drugs,” said Stothart.

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E “became very angry” because Collin “did not end up selling the amount of drugs he suggested he could,” said Stothart.

“E described it as ‘a waste of time,’” she said.

The four then continued to Wawa en route to the Sault where they made stops at a gas station and general store.

Fortomaris said E was “drinking heavily and becoming more and more angry at Devon Collin.”

When the group stopped for fuel, Collin and the woman, who was not named in the statement of facts, went into the Petro-Canada station on Mission Road.

Collin “indicated that he was worried that the males from Toronto were going to hurt him,” said Stothart.

The woman was dropped off in Sudbury and was threatened that “if the police became involved, they would know that she was a rat.”

Fortomaris was paid about $2,000 for making the Northern Ontario trip.

Defence lawyer Jennifer Tremblay-Hall, representing Fortomaris, said the agreed statement of facts was “substantially accurate and my client takes no issue with those facts.”

Fortomaris told police that at the time of Collin’s murder he was addicted to drugs and was selling narcotics “to feed his addiction.”

He had previously met E “and knew him to be involved in drug trafficking.”

E needed a driver to go to Northern Ontario and sell narcotics. When the pair left Toronto, Fortomaris knew E carried a gun.

Collin’s family reported him missing to Greater Sudbury Police on June 17, 2019. Investigators obtained video surveillance footage of Fortomaris filling up the SUV in Wawa. The licence plate on the vehicle was registered in his name.

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Fortomaris initially denied to investigators that he was in Northern Ontario. He was shown a still image from the video footage. Fortomaris then acknowledged he was in Wawa with the three others.

He would not identify the man who was riding in the front of the SUV with him “telling the police that if he did he would be dead within a week,” said Stothart.

Fortomaris was charged with accessory after the fact to murder. He was brought to the Sault and assisted Ontario Provincial Police in finding Collins.

A forensic examination of the scene recovered eight shell casings from a 9-mm handgun on the gravel shoulder of the west side of Highway 17.

An autopsy identified the cause of Collin’s death as gunshots to the back of his torso.

In October 2020, Fortomaris agreed to speak to police further about the slaying, including the name of the man who shot Collins.

Fortomaris will be sentenced on Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m. Tremblay-Hall asked for any possible victim impact statements to be shared with the Crown and defence before sentencing.

The OPP has also charged Houssein Hassan, 24, with first-degree murder in connection with Collin’s death. He was arrested at his Toronto home in September 2019.

None of the allegations against Hassan have been proven in court.

Hassan was arrested earlier in the year in Sudbury as part of Project Kracken, a separate investigation done by the Greater Sudbury Police Service and Toronto Police Service, on June 21, 2019.

He was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime. Hassan was held in custody until June 24 before being released.

btkelly@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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