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Two sentenced in 2016 mistaken Mafia hit that killed innocent man

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Two men connected to Montreal street gangs were sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for killing a man at a cafe seven years ago in a case of mistaken identity.

On June 2, 2016, 72-year-old Angelo D'Onofrio was shot six times while having a coffee on Fleury Street in Ahuntsic.

He was a member of Montreal's Italian community, known for his mild manners and generosity -- and not the man the convicted men believed him to be.  

The shooter, Jeff Joubens Theus, and his getaway driver, Ebamba Ndutu Lufiau, were out to kill Antonio Vanelli, described in court documents as a member of a criminal organization. He also happens to look a lot like D'Onofrio.

It took police a year to find the suspects and the murder weapon.

Finally, the pair was sentenced on Wednesday. After being found guilty of first-degree murder, Theus was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Meanwhile, Lufiau was sentenced to life with no parole eligibility for 13 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. 

It was nothing close to a consolation for the victim's widow.

"It is difficult, to be honest with you, to live in a void. Tomorrow is 'what,' the sense of belonging is not there. It's the unknown," Lina Simone told CTV News at the courthouse on Wednesday.

For her family, the other tragedy was prejudice. There was an assumption that, because D'Onofrio was Italian, shot in an Italian cafe, he was maybe a member of organized crime.

But it wasn't the case.

"It ruined the reputation of the family, which we deserve," said the victim's brother, Giuseppe D'Onofrio.

"It's so emotional that he will not come back, and my family is still affected by this. We miss him a lot."  

Superior Court Justice Helen Di Salvo said the two convicted men showed a disdain for human life — a crime D'Onofrio's family can't put behind ithem. 

"As much as you want to repair the hole," Simone said, "the scar is there."

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