A confrontation over allegedly stolen DJ equipment being sold on Gumtree led to father-of-five Duane Hutchings, 44, being shot at his property at Oakleigh East on Saturday morning.
Tony Panagiotou, aged 56, admitted to police that he shot Hutchings with a sawn-off shotgun during an ill-planned plot for revenge when a bid to recover stolen property turned deadly.
Tony, the father, took his sons and another man to the Clayton Road property to confront Mr Hutchings, whom they believed had robbed 18-year-old John Panagiotou of the equipment he had advertised on Gumtree.
It is alleged that the four men burst into the apartment carrying metal poles. But it was Tony who allegedly fired a single shot into the back of Mr Hutchings head from less than 1.5 metres away.
At around 5.25am an eye witness contacted police, and Mr Hutchings was rushed to The Alfred Hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries soon after arrival on Saturday, 9 February.
Four men were arrested on Sunday after raids in Doncaster and Park Orchards, and Tony was charged with murder. His sons John, and George, aged 22, charged with aggravated home invasion and assault. Jonathan Atalalis, aged 24, was charged along with the others.
Defence counsel Christopher Farrington said John and George Panagiotou believed that the advertised DJ equipment belonged to their business, Love it Loud – a business for DJ equipment and party hire. They reported the theft to the police before they took matters into their own hands.
Magistrate Constantinos Kilias refused them bail when they fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday, and all four are now behind bars waiting for their next hearing on June 3.
Their mother, Mary, sobbed as she heard the sentence, knowing her family had been torn apart.
Accomplices still missing?
A woman house-sitting at an apartment when the alleged murder took place says there are several men still missing. She says “six or seven” men entered Mr Hutchings unit on the night of 8 February before the shot was fired. She was told not to touch her phone for five minutes.
Though Tony Panagiotou made an extensive admission about why the accused were at Oakleigh East and confessed guilt, there are still concerns about the whereabouts of the murder weapon.
“I’m troubled by this. I don’t know who’s got the gun,” Mr Kilias said, refusing John bail in part because of the still missing murder weapon.