1.”My beloved dad was killed in front of me and my brother.” Sons describe their pain over dad’s death.
Farmer Angelo Russo pleads guilty to manslaughter in ‘eggplant’ shooting casehttps://t.co/c9xRyrcdE7
— The Australian (@australian) May 25, 2018
Two young boys present when their dad was shot dead by a Victorian chilli farmer have spoken of their pain since the death of their “beloved” father.
Angelo Russo, 55, last week pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Calandro, who was shot while sitting in his ute at Russo’s Tatura farm on February 18, 2017.
The plea came days after his murder trial began in the Supreme Court of Victoria, with Russo admitting to manslaughter after prosecutors agreed to withdraw the murder charge.
Following Russo’s guilty plea, the prosecution conceded it could not prove the farmer intended to shoot Mr Calandro.
During a pre-sentence hearing on Wednesday, prosecutor Nicholas Papas QC said Russo claimed Mr Calandro deliberately swerved at his dog Harry to “spook” it, but accidentally ran it over.
Russo claims he was “pissed off” and put down his injured dog by shooting it.
He says he did not intentionally kill Mr Calandro when he approached him with the shotgun still in his hand.
The farmer claims he slipped on an eggplant and the shotgun discharged accidentally and didn’t realise Mr Calandro was injured until he heard the 43-year-old screaming. Mr Calandro died in hospital the next day.
Mr Calandro’s son Anton gave an emotional victim impact statement to the court, read by a family member.
“My life is different since my dad hasn’t been here,” he said in his statement.
“My dad was a nice, caring, fun dad.
“I now have to do more things at home because he’s not here. I have to care for mum.”
A statement by Mr Calandro’s other son, Flavian – who was just 12 when his father was shot – was read to the court by Mr Papas.
“Every day I think about my dad, wishing he was here to guide me … I will forever miss him,” his statement read.