Second Mongols bikie to face murder trial

·2-min read

A second Mongols bikie will stand trial over the alleged murder of Melbourne fruiterer Paul Virgona.

Josh Rider on Friday pleaded not guilty to murdering the 46-year-old father of two as he drove along the EastLink at Donvale on November 9, 2019.

He was committed to stand trial after appearing before Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link.

Prosecutor Angela Ellis in March said Mr Virgona was shot seven or eight times after 11 rounds were fired into his van.

Rider and his co-accused Aaron Ong, who has also been committed to stand trial, allegedly drove a stolen Mercedes-Benz to Mr Virgona's Croydon home and waited until he left around 2am.

They're accused of following him onto the freeway, pulling up alongside him and opening fire on the van.

Mr Virgona ran Virgona Fresh Produce at Thornbury and was on his way to a market at Epping.

He was found dead in the driver's seat with his seatbelt on and the engine running.

The court was told his alleged killers dumped the Mercedes-Benz at a Mooroolbark paddock and used a 10-litre fuel container to set it on fire.

The men then left in a stolen VW Amarok they had parked at the same spot ahead of time and following a meeting at the Mongols' Port Melbourne clubhouse, Ms Ellis said.

They allegedly drove at speeds of up to 150km/h to get away from police pursuing them and discarded the Mercedes-Benz key out the window.

It was later handed to police by a member of the public.

Rider and Ong crashed the Amarok at traffic island, fled into a nearby park and ditched two bags of clothes, Ms Ellis said.

It's alleged DNA from a half-eaten KitKat and top found inside a Culture Kings bag are linked to Ong, and another top inside a Coles bag to Rider.

The duo's DNA was also allegedly found inside the Amarok.

Rider, now 30, and 35-year-old Ong were arrested on January 22 last year. The gun hasn't been recovered.

They will both face court for a directions hearing on May 3.