An “out-of-control” Melbourne rapper has admitted his role in a home invasion that left a young man dead as his terrified girlfriend begged their neighbours for help.
Peter Batsanes, 20, and Troy Allen Smith, 25, returned before the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday for a presentence hearing after each pleaded guilty to a charge of home invasion.
Outlining the case, Crown prosecutor Raymond Gibson KC said Griffin Harris, 22, and his partner woke shortly after 4am on September 21 last year as Batsanes and Smith stood banging and kicking on the front door of their home.
He told the court they didn’t enter the home, but two other men entered the Kalkallo home on Melbourne’s northern fringe through an unlocked laundry door after jumping the back fence.
Harris’ girlfriend, Alison Sleddon, was confronted by the two men in the hallway and fled the home “terrified” after a rifle was pointed at her head.
“Harris was physically assaulted and shot in the upper chest,” Mr Gibson said.
Despite efforts from emergency services, Mr Harris was declared dead shortly before 6am.
Two men stand accused of Mr Harris’s murder, Lachlan Belmore and Dean Bell, and they are expected to face trial at a later date.
Mr Gibson told the court the home invasion allegedly came after a period of “growing animosity” between Mr Belmore and Mr Harris over a $250 drug debt owed by Mr Harris.
He said Batsanes, an “aspiring rapper” known as YxngFr33zA, and Smith were allegedly enlisted by Mr Belmore as “backup” in a revenge plot.
Batsanes’ barrister Rahmin De Kretser told the court that his client’s life had “spiralled out of control” in the months leading up to the incident due to drug use.
“He involved himself in something that had nothing to do with him,” Mr de Krester said.
“He’s had now 12 months of abstinence and what you might call sober reflection … This arrest was the circuit breaker he needed to divert him off a destructive path.”
Mr de Krester told the court that his client had allegedly been socialising with Mr Belmore, another rapper going by “Drips”, and had made the “brash” decision to go along for the ride.
Smith’s barrister Paul Smallwood said Smith had demonstrated “genuine remorse” for his part in Mr Harris’s death and regretted being there that night.
Both lawyers conceded the “only” appropriate sentence was jail but argued their clients would benefit if given the option of a long period of supervision on parole.
Batsanes and Smith were remanded into custody by Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth, who will hand down a sentence at a later date.