A man accused of killing two and wounding two others at the Moka Expresso Cafe in Woodbridge, near Toronto, in June, had his first day in court today, in Newmarket. Twenty-seven-year-old Jason Hay, arrested yesterday in what police called a “high-stakes take-down” spoke only a handful of words, telling the judge that he “did nothing wrong.”
Hay was remanded into custody and he will appear again in a courtroom on August 24th. Family and friends of the two deceased victims of Hay, Maria Voci and Christopher DeSimone, were in the courtroom, as were the father and sister of the defendant. Voci was 47 and DeSimone 24 when a man fitting Hay’s description walked into the Moka Cafe at 8:18 a.m. on June 24 and shot them dead.
The York Regional Police’s Emergency Response unit made yesterday’s dramatic arrest on Highway 400 in Barrie, Ontario, not far from where the murders took place. Along with Hay, Tashari Bennett, 25, who, like Hay, is from Mississauga, was also arrested.
Witnesses report seeing the car Hay and Bennett were travelling in rammed by two unmarked police cars before armed officers swarmed the vehicle and made the arrests.
Hay has been charged with two counts of murder and two of attempted murder. Bennett is charged with accessory after the fact and one count of breach of recognizance; she was already charged with offences related to an incident in Winnipeg that sent four to hospital with stab wounds; Bennett and others are charged with aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and attempted murder.
She will appear in an Ontario court in September.
Police have yet to name a motive for the Moka killings but did say that there was an illegal gambling den in back of the Cafe, one that included slot machines and card tables. They said it is too early in the investigation to conclude the murders were connected to gambling.
Hay was convicted in 2007 in the murder of David Latchana and spent some seven years in jail. He was on parole when arrested.