Verdict for man accused of shooting dead Melbourne grocer

Two men are convicted of the murder of Melbourne grocer Paul Virgona after a jury found Aaron Ong guilty of the crime.

It can also now be revealed that Josh Rider pleaded guilty to murder days before the trial began.

Virgona was on his way to a Melbourne market to sort his daily order of fruit and vegetables when he was shot dead on the Eastlink Freeway just after 2am on November 9, 2019.

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Eleven shots from a semi-automatic handgun were fired into the driver’s side of his van, seven of which hit the 46-year-old.

Ong and Rider watched Virgona’s home in Croydon for two hours before the shooting.

Melbourne grocer Paul Virgona was shot and killed on the Eastlink Freeway in November 2019. Recognition: AAP

It is not clear which of the men drove the stolen car from which the shots were fired, or who fired the shots.

Ong was convicted on the basis that he and Rider made a killing agreement.

Virgona did not know the men, had no criminal connections, and was not affiliated with the outlaw Mongol motorcycle club that Ong and Rider were both affiliated with.

“Nothing behind Mr Virgona’s background explained why he was attacked and killed,” prosecutor Mark Gibson KC said during Ong’s trial.

Rider pleaded guilty to murder Nov. 9 after filing a criminal complaint.

Paul Virgona was on his way to a market to sort his daily fruit and vegetable order when he was shot dead on the Eastlink Freeway. Recognition: 7NEWS

Ong’s attorney, Mark Gumbleton, had claimed his client was not present at the time of the shooting.

In their verdict, the jury rejected this argument.

Both men will face a pre-sentencing hearing on March 1 next year.

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https://7news.com.au/news/court-justice/verdict-in-for-man-accused-of-shooting-death-of-melbourne-grocer-c-9065126 Verdict for man accused of shooting dead Melbourne grocer

James Brien

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