Gun in hand, the Colorado man accused of shooting three men in the head execution-style during a Sonoma County marijuana deal gone bad turned to an unsuspecting accomplice and said, "It had to be done," a detective testified Tuesday.
Mark Cappello, 46, of Central City, Colo. was identified to police as the man who fired on his would-be business partners Feb. 5 as they sat on the bedroom floor of a Forestville house and packaged bundles of weed destined for New York.
The bodies of Todd Klarkowski, 43, of Boulder, Colo.; Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.; and former Sebastopol resident Raleigh Butler, 24, were found in the room, each with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Detective Brandon Cutting of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office testified Tuesday at Cappello's preliminary hearing that a co-defendant, Odin Dwyer, 38, also of Colorado, provided an account of the killings. He said Dwyer told him he was standing in the kitchen when he heard gunshots.
"He heard three fairly quick shots," Cutting said. "He described it to me. He said it went 'bang, bang, bang.'"
Dwyer told the detective he looked toward the bedroom where the men were preparing the marijuana and saw Cappello standing with his arm extended, holding a gun. Inside the room were three men sprawled on the floor.
That's when Cappello spoke to Dwyer.
"I believe he said, 'It had to be done,'" Cutting said, recounting what Dwyer told him in an interview after his arrest.
Dwyer, who was hired along with father, Francis Dwyer, 66, of New Mexico, to drive the pot to New York, feared he was the next to be shot, Cutting said.
Instead, Dwyer said Cappello unloaded the .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and instructed Dwyer to pick up the bullet casings.
Ten to 15 minutes after arriving at the house, Cappello and Odin Dwyer were loading the marijuana into Cappello's white Ford Bronco, being careful not to take any pot with blood on it, Cutting said.
There was no mention in court of any money being taken. Dwyer told police there was tension between Cappello and the three victims over $275,000 Cappello was supposed to bring to the deal but didn't, Cutting said.
Dwyer and Cappello drove to Cappello's hotel room at the Best Western Garden Inn on Santa Rosa Avenue, where the elder Dwyer had been instructed to wait behind and watch Cappello's dog, Cutting said.
Odin Dwyer told detectives Cappello appeared nervous despite claims he had been in a military special forces unit. He said Cappello cleaned the gun and remaining bullets with alcohol as he had done before the shooting, disassembled the pistol and put it in a bag, Cutting said.
He told the Dwyers to dispose of it nearby. They tossed it in a creek bed near Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, where parts of it were later found by police.
After shaving off his beard and changing his clothes, Cappello checked out of the motel, Dwyer told the deputy. The three headed east in separate vehicles on Interstate 80. Cappello was in his Bronco and Odin and Francis Dwyer in a Ford pickup.
Dwyer said they stopped in the American Canyon area to transfer the marijuana into the Dwyers' vehicle. Cappello disposed of clothing he had worn during the shooting, along with a distinctive black vinyl protector that had been covering the grill of his Bronco, Cutting said.