Prosecutor: Crumbling marriage set scene for shooting
Jury hears outline of case against ex-maitre d’ of luxury resort on the first day of murder trial
DUNCAN — A romantic attraction never satisfied, a crumbling marriage and a devastated husband added up to gunshot murder, a B.C. Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.
Dragan Jojic, the former maitre d’ of the Malahat luxury resort The Aerie, went on trial charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Sept. 14, 2006, death of Michael Taliano, 49.
In his opening remarks to the jury, prosecutor Scott Van Alstine promised evidence to show Jojic, about 60, shot Taliano four times: Once in the head, twice in the chest and once in the back after learning his wife was leaving him and had feelings for Taliano.
Van Alstine promised the jury testimony from a police officer who, posing as a prisoner, talked with Jojic about the shooting. “Mr. Jojic made the sound ‘Bang.’ ”
Taliano “turned to run and I shot him ‘Bang. Bang. Bang.’ ”
The prosecutor also promised evidence that will show Jojic’s wife, and mother of their three children, was unsure about the future of their relationship.
Meanwhile, there was mutual attraction between her and Taliano although the two never acted on those feelings.
“She wasn’t about to start another relationship until she was finished with the one she was in,” said Van Alstine.
On Sept. 10, 2006, the wife told Jojic she wanted to split up. Jojic asked her if she had developed feelings for somebody else and she replied “Yes.” He then asked, point blank, if that someone was Taliano and again was told “Yes.”
Van Alstine also said the jury will hear Jojic later, after his arrest, told the police officer posing as a prisoner he confronted Taliano.
Jojic told the officer Taliano stood and told him “I have no fear of you.”
That’s when Jojic related he pulled out the gun and asked “Do you feel fear now?”
And to another officer, Van Alstine said Jojic also related the fear question. “It was totally a mistake. I wanted to scare him. I asked him a question ‘Do you feel fear now?”
Van Alstine said the couple first met Taliano in 2000 and he stayed with them at their home in Duncan before moving out Sept. 1, 2006, to a cabin rented out by a nearby farmer.
Van Alstine said he expects the wife to testify she met with Jojic the night before Taliano’s death and he was very calm. “This session was very pleasant.”
Jojic “told her he accepts the fact that they are separating and he even offered helpful ideas about the care of the children,” said Van Alstine.
But the morning of Taliano’s death, Van Alstine, promised evidence from people living nearby who will testify they heard gunshots. And Van Alstine also told the jury they will hear Jojic told police the whole thing had become an offence, against him, his family and his honour.
“It was an offence that really made me suffer a lot of grief and pain,” said Van Alstine, relating comments he expects the jury will hear came from Jojic.
“I did commit murder,” the prosecutor attributed to Jojic speaking with police. “I said that before, so don’t ask me anymore because I’m very fragile right now.”
And Van Alstine promised evidence to show the day of the shooting, Jojic phoned a friend who arrived at his house and later accompanied him to the RCMP detachment. There, Van Alstine said police will relate, a revolver was removed from Jojic’s waistband.
And from the gun, police removed five empty cartridges.