Tweed man guilty on murder accessory
A MAN has been jailed for three years and six months over his involvement in the 2008 murder of drug dealer Said Zateer at Chinderah.
Todd Serone, 41, of Tweed Heads, was sentenced in the Lismore Supreme Court on the charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder after being found guilty by a 12-person jury.
The court heard Serone and his co-accused Rodney White had been friends for several years after Serone, who was a mechanic, met White and began working on his cars.
Serone told the court in evidence that he believed White and Mr Zateer were involved in a drug dealing business that involved running drugs from Sydney to the Gold Coast by car.
The court heard on December 16, 2008, the day Mr Zateer was murdered by White in a cabin at the Chinderah Caravan Park, White contacted Serone and asked him to take two of his friends, Mr Ellison and Mr Humphries who he told were hitmen, to the Gold Coast Airport to hire a car to transport Mr Zateer's body.
Serone hired the car using a friend's credit card and on the way to the caravan park the three men went to a Tweed hardware store where they purchased tape, a tarp gardening gloves and a Stanley knife to help dispose of Mr Zateer's body.
Serone told the court Ellison and Humphries wrapped Mr Zateer's body in the tarp while he cut out a section of blood stained carpet from the cabin.
The three men then drove to Kyogle Rd at Uki where they met White, swapped the body into his car and Serone left.
The court heard White then proceeded to torch Mr Zateer's car and throw his body off The Pinnacle.
Mr Zateer's body was found a year to the day after his murder with only 12 bones remaining.
Serone's defence barrister Bruce Walmsley argued his client acted under duress as Rodney White threatened to kill his family if he wasn't involved in the disposal of Mr Zateer's body.
But Justice Hulme found Serone's actions on the day Mr Zateer was killed were not those of someone acting under duress.
After his sentence was backdated due to time served, Serone will be eligible for release on June 8, 2014.