|A handout photo of murder victim Glen Davis.
TORONTO -- A middleman who helped Marshall Ross orchestrate the murder of his first cousin and benefactor Glen Davis was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday.
A jury returned its guilty verdict against Dmitri Kossyrine, who showed little emotion. Justice Eugene Ewaschuk immediately handed Kossyrine the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
The Crown alleged that Ross, Kossyrine and Eugene Vorobiov were partners in the murder-for-hire of the rich philanthropist. Ross schemed to kill Davis to solve his overwhelming financial problems, court heard.
"The murder of Glen Davis was a planned and deliberate killing for hire, contracted by Marshall Ross and set up by his subcontractor, Dmitri Kossyrine," Crown attorney Hank Goody said.
Vorobiov was found guilty last year of first-degree murder but a jury couldn't reach a verdict for Kossyrine, so he was retried alone.
Ross pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. All three are now serving life terms with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Goody and co-counsel Nicole Bailey argued that Kossyrine turned to his close friend and right-hand man, Vorobiov, who fatally shot Davis.
Greed and jealousy inspired this killing, Goody said.
Ross was wallowing in a sea of debt and owed more than $2 million to Davis, his cousin, godfather and benefactor.
Murdering Davis and using cash from his estate was the only way Ross could maintain his business, Rosshire Enterprises.
"The financial helping hand -- which Glen Davis was providing to Marshall Ross -- had become, in Ross' hands, a shovel with which he was digging an ever-deepening hole of debt from which he had no realistic prospect of extricating himself," Goody said.
It was the ultimate betrayal as Davis and Ross enjoyed an extremely close relationship, and Davis never suspected Ross was plotting his demise, court heard. Vorobiov fatally shot Davis, 66, in a midtown parking lot on May 18, 2007.
It was Ross' second effort in 18 months to have Davis killed.
Ross first tried to have him killed four days before Christmas 2005, but his hired killer, wielding a baseball bat, only managed to leave Davis with lacerations to his head and a shattered left elbow.
"This doesn't bring back Glen Davis, who was a great Canadian, a great citizen of Toronto. His tremendous loss is being felt to this day," Det. Sgt. Peter Moreira said after the verdict. "Those three men have 25 years to think about the tragedy they created."