Bail hearings pushed back for suspected funeral home arsonists
MONTREAL - The three men charged in connection with a firebomb attack at a funeral home owned by the Rizzuto family will remain behind bars for now.
Julien Bourassa-Richer, 26, Alexandre Touary, 27, and Sounthone Chareunsouk, 30, were in court Wednesday for a bail hearing. The trio were arrested minutes after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the Loreto funeral home on Jan. 6, 2011.
At Wednesday's hearing, Chareunsouk pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of drug trafficking, then agreed to postpone his bail hearing until Feb. 2, 2011. Touary also agreed to remain in custody until that date.
Bourassa-Richer, who is accused of driving the two other men away from the scene of the crime said that he wanted to apply for bail, and that his girlfriend had funds to provide a guarantee.
The Quebec court judge said he required additional time to consider his application, since Bourassa-Richer is unemployed and said he is about to go back to school, but was unable to provide the court with the name of the school where he is registered.
The judge is expected to announce a decision regarding Bourassa-Richer at noon on Friday.
Crown Prosecutor Valerie Beauchamp asked the court to deny the suspects bail, in order to send a clear message that firebombing attacks won't be tolerated.
Funeral home torched
The three men are accused of attacking the Loreto funeral home, located on Des Grandes Prairies near Viau in St. Leonard, in the early hours of Jan. 6.
They are facing four charges, including possession of Molotov cocktails and conspiracy.
During the bail hearing several details about the night in question were presented to the court.
A security guard working at the funeral home was on the other side of the building when he spotted a car rushing away from the scene.
When he approached the front of the building he noticed the smashed window and the flames.
At the same time, an off-duty police officer in the area noticed the speeding car and notified his colleagues, who stopped the car and arrested three men.
Officers said that with the three men in custody, the smell of gasoline was so strong they were forced to open the windows.
The Loreto funeral home is the same place where mourners recently attended a visitation for the late Nicolo Rizzuto, who was killed by a sniper in November at his home.
Dozens of Montreal companies including pizzerias, cafes and delicatessens have been the target of arsonists in the past 18 months.
Police have said that many of the locations that were attacked were being used by drug dealers with links to the mafia.