A lead investIgator into the murder of Barn owner Janko Naglic says evidence has led them away from suspicions that police officers may have been involved.
“We haven’t totally ruled it out,” says Det Wayne Banks. “But I can say that the direction we’re taking now is not tied into that, that there are no leads tied to allegations Janko made during the corruption scandal.”
Naglic, 58, was found dead in his Balliol St home on Oct 27. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be asphyxiation, but detectives have otherwise been closed-mouthed about the crime scene and theories about who
might have done it.
Last April, amidst a shakedown of 52 Division’s plainclothes police officers over alleged extortion from bars and nightclubs, Naglic told Xtra he was asked by someone for $40,000 up front and $2,000 a week to make his bar’s
problems with the police go away.
Banks, whose team of homicide detectives have interviewed more than 90 people in connection to the murder, says the information they’ve received doesn’t point in that direction.
“I know that the perception [that police aren’t interested in pursuing leads against other cops] is there, but I can tell you, based on my own integrity, that I don’t care who the person is who killed Janko. I have no problem
investigating police officers at all,” says Banks. Early in the
investigation police ruled out hate based on sexual orientation as a motivation, suggesting that Naglic’s financial success as a business owner was a factor.
Just before Christmas the Homicide Unit was getting calls from Torontonians who believed police weren’t taking the case seriously. Banks, who has five of Toronto’s 30 homicide detectives working on the case full-time, says that’s just not true.
“I know the community feels there’s not enough being done,” says Banks. “But everything is being done. We’re working on this nonstop…. It’s easy to point a finger. It’s easy to accuse people… but we don’t want to falsely
accuse somebody and pay for it down the road.”
Banks says there are “persons of interest” in the case, but that, because of where the crime took place, witnesses are hard to come by.
“The problem is that Mr Naglic was killed in his own residence, where the chance of having an eyewitness is reduced, so we might not have the speedy results we get in other cases.”
Banks says that some evidence – he would not describe its nature – has been sent to the Centre For Forensic Sciences; investigators are waiting for results. Forensic experts were in the house for eight days after investigators were called in.
“I can tell you we do have some leads we’re working on, excellent leads. But we have to have evidence we can take to court,” says Banks.
Investigators are hoping that there are other witnesses who might have information that will help them turn the corner.
“This is a case that will be solved through cooperation by the public,” says Banks, who, coincidentally, was also a lead investigator in the shooting of Glen Albert Collington at Mr Tasty Burgers on Church St on Dec 19. “I still
hope that there may be people out in the community who have knowledge of what happened.”