Paul Cherry

Published:September 9, 2021

-Montreal Gazette


The trial of Frédérick Silva, who is alleged to have acted as a hit man for criminal organizations, has begun at the Montreal courthouse.

Silva, 41, is charged with the February 2017 attempted murder of Montreal Mafia leader Salvatore Scoppa, as well as the murders of three men: Alessandro Vinci, who was shot inside a car dealership in Laval in October 2018; Yvon Marchand, a 51-year-old drug dealer who was gunned down, also in October 2018, in front of his home in Montreal on Pierre-Tetreault St.; and Sébastien Beauchamp, 44, a former member of a Hells Angels support club who was shot in the St-Léonard borough in December 2018.

Scoppa was later killed, on May 5, 2019, at a hotel in Laval, but Silva is not charged with that homicide.

The trial is being heard by Superior Court Justice Marc David with no jury. It is scheduled to last until December. David began hearing evidence on Wednesday.

The first witness called to testify Thursday morning was Samuel Fortin, a student who was a dishwasher at a Houston restaurant in Terrebonne when the attempt was made on Scoppa’s life on Feb. 21, 2017. The Houston restaurant was next to a pizzeria Scoppa had dined at just before someone shot him in the parking lot outside.

When police arrived they noticed that the door to Scoppa’s vehicle was open and they found a bullet-proof vest inside. He was later located at a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries he sustained in the shooting.

Fortin said he discovered a firearmwhile he was enjoying a cigarette break, four days after Scoppa was shot and wounded.

“I was smoking my cigarette and to pass the time I was kicking at snow and ice. And while I was kicking the snow, I noticed a firearm that was underneath the snow,” Fortin said, while adding he picked up the pistol with his pinky finger to show it to Sébastien Dutrisac, the restaurant’s head chef. “That’s when I started to wonder if it had anything to do with (the attempt on Scoppa’s life).

“At the start I tried to figure out if it was real because I really didn’t believe it was. When I lifted it with my pinky finger, with the weight and seeing how it was made, I realized it was real.”

Dutrisac was called to testify after Fortin. He said the restaurant was very busy the evening Fortin found the firearm and that he had also stepped outside for a smoke.

“I told him to let go it and he let it drop,” Dutrisac said of how he reacted when he saw Fortin with the gun. “He was holding it with his pinky finger and I said: ‘Don’t touch that’.”

Dutrisac said he returned inside the restaurant to continue working through the dinner-time rush. He said that when his workload became lighter 90 minutes later, sometime after 9 p.m., he began to wonder if firearm was used in the attempt on Scoppa’s life and he called the police.

The trial will resume on Monday.

Silva is also charged with second-degree murder in the death of Daniel Armando Somoza-Gildea — a Concordia University student who died on May 24, 2017, after he was shot when an argument that started inside the Cabaret les Amazones in Montreal spilled out into the strip bar’s parking lot.

His trial in that case is scheduled to be held in 2022.