File photo: iStockThe mother of a man accused of themurder of a Whorouly woman allegedly hired a hitman to kill the key witness in his trial.
But her plan went south when police discovered her alleged plan and posed as the hitman willing to do the job for $25,000.
Michael Cardamone, 50, is due to stand trial in July for the alleged murder of Karen Chetcuti Verbunt in January 2016 – accused of drugging and assaultingher before setting her alight.
Both he and his mother MariaCardamone have been charged withperverting the course of justice and incitement to commit murder.
The 78-year-old applied for bail in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court on Friday, but was refused on the grounds she was an unacceptable risk to witnesses in the community.
Homicide squad Detective Senior Constable Steven Eppingstall told the court in evidence that police intercepted phone calls between MariaCardamone and her son in jail in March, where they allegedly discussed the need to kill the witness.
An undercover operative posing as a hitman agreed to a price to be paid in two installments of $12,500 before and after the job.
“She was very guarded in the words she used, she often spoke in code and was the instigator of some of these codes,” DetectiveEppingstall said.
He said MariaCardamone hid the arrangement from the rest of the familythen, on March 23, she tried to rip off the “hitman” and paid just$9000.
79yo woman charged with incitement to commit murder has arrived at Wangaratta court with police. @bordermailpic.twitter南京夜网/d9ivo77YOV
— Shana Morgan (@shana_morgan) May 5, 2017Mrs Cardamone has been willing to go to great extremes to protect her son.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Maio Eliades
Barrister Gordon Chisholm said there was no evidenceMariaCardamone was a threat to any other witnesses and had been banned from calling or visiting her son in jail.
He argued a $25,000 surety from a family member and an order to engage with mental health services would reduce the risk of reoffending.
“The individual witness that Mrs Cardamone is fixated on would be in a different category to other witnesses,” he said. “There is no evidence to say she’s going to move her fixation.
MariaCardamone, a short woman dressed in a dark pink jumper, put her hand to her head and shut her eyes when magistrate David Faram announced he would refuse her bail application because she was an unacceptable risk of reoffending.
“The medical report indicates she has been suffering from depression and has been in an anxious state for sometime,” Mr Faram said.
“This case against her seems to suggest she planned this reasonably well (and she) was, and perhaps remains, fixated on making sure this particular witness is not available to give evidence in the trial.”
MariaCardamone was remanded for a committal mention on August 3. Her son’s trial is due to begin in Wangaratta on July 31.
The Border Mail