Two drug dealers were tortured and murdered during a “breathtakingly evil” attack, a court has been told.
Cory Breton and Iliana Triscaru were allegedly beaten, tied up and locked in a toolbox before it was dumped in a lagoon.
Four men denied the “extraordinarily barbaric” killings, in which the victims were heard “yelling and kicking” inside the box before being driven to a creek and drowned.
Stou Daniels, Davy Malu Junior Taiao, Trent Michael Thrupp and Waylon Ngaketo Cowan Walker pleaded not guilty to murder during the opening day of their trial at Queensland’s Supreme Court in Australia earlier today.
Daniels, Taiao and Thrupp are also alleged to have tortured the pair in Kingston, south of Brisbane, on January 24, 2016.
The court rejected Thrupp’s guilty plea for manslaughter.
All of the accused were drug users and dealers, David Meredith, prosecuting, told the court.
He added that Daniels became suspicious of Mr Breton after the victim told a convenience store owner he sold drugs to asked him about the source of his supply. Breton replied with “islanders”.
Mr Breton later identified Daniels after the owner sent him an image from CCTV.
On learning about the photo, Daniels become agitated, gearing he was being set up, the court heard.
Mr Meredith said: “The prosecution says that the motive for all of this was Daniels being suspicious of Cory Breton.”
After the victims were lured to Kingston, they were tortured, tied up and locked inside the large toolbox.
The box, weighed down by concrete blocks and tyres, was driven to Scrubby Creek Lagoon, near Brisbane, and submerged.
Their badly decomposed bodies were found by a police diver still inside the box two weeks later.
Doctors were unable to determine a cause of death due to the state of the remains but believed they died from suffocation or drowning.
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Mr Meredith said: “The evidence seems to be that they were still alive when they were put into Scrubby Creek.
“According to witnesses, they were still yelling and kicking at the toolbox when they left the apartment complex.”
The suspects were caught on CCTV driving a truck with the toolbox on the tray on the Logan Motorway at about 8.50pm.
“If these things are true this killing is extraordinarily barbaric,” Mr Meredith added.
“These people were put into a toolbox and kept there for several hours – obviously fearing what might happen to them.
“They were taken to a creek and drowned … it’s breathtakingly evil.”
Lawyers pleaded with the jury to understand that many witnesses in the case had mental health issues and a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
The four-week trial continues.