Gaétan Gosselin was given the gift of one extra day of life because a child happened to pass his home in St-Léonard at the exact moment cold-blooded killers were prepared to shoot him.

The details behind how Gosselin was granted one extra day to live were among the many presented in court while five men with ties to a Montreal street gang called Unit 44 were charged with the murder of Raynald Desjardins’s business partner and close friend. The five men pleaded guilty on Thursday to being part of a conspiracy to kill Gosselin, on Jan. 22, 2013. One of the five, Olivier Gay, 34, also pleaded to being part of a conspiracy to murder Vincenzo Scuderi, 49, who was killed nine days after Gosselin.

Both men appeared to be on the opposing side of Vito Rizzuto, the now-deceased Mob boss, who was, in 2013, attempting to maintain control as the head of the Montreal Mafia. Desjardins was part of a group that tried to take control away from the Rizzuto organization in 2010 and 2011 while Rizzuto was behind bars in the U.S. At the time of his death, Scuderi was under investigation in Project Clemenza. The RCMP investigation revealed Scuderi was a close lieutenant of Giuseppe (Ponytail) De Vito, a leader of a Mafia clan who despised the Rizzuto organization.

Vito Rizzuto’s name was not mentioned at all during the Quebec Superior Court hearing before Justice Guy Cournoyer where Gay and the four other men — Edrick Antoine, 29, Stanley Minuty, 33, Kevin Tate, 33, and Léonard Faustin Étienne, 37 — entered their pleas on conspiracy charges. But when the murders were carried out in 2013, police sources speculated the slayings were part of Rizzuto’s attempt to maintain control of the leadership of the Montreal Mafia.

Rizzuto died of natural causes on Dec. 23, 2013. De Vito died of cyanide poisoning inside a federal penitentiary on July 8, 2013.

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