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Brothers held over gun murder in broad daylight

THE chief suspects for the gangland murder of a 20-year-old man in May remain in garda custody today.

The two brothers are understood to have fled Dublin after the murder of Dean Johnson who was shot dead as as he sat in the back of a friend's car - just yards from his home at Moorefield Avenue, Neilstown.

Sources say that the duo spent months living "offside" in a caravan park in Co Wexford but returned to Dublin in recent weeks.

They are being questioned today in Lucan and Ronans-town Garda Stations under Section 50 of The Criminal Justice Act.

Bottle

Mr Johnson - who was not known to gardai for involvement in serious criminality - was blasted five times in the head and body in a savage murder.

It is understood that the murder centres around a vicious dispute in the Neilstown area.

Before his murder, Mr Johnson had been involved in a number of assaults including an incident in which a bottle was smashed into a man's face in a west Dublin nightclub.

After this incident, he was later arrested for assaulting a garda outside the club but was released without charge.

Gardai quickly ruled out the theory that the reason for the murder was that Mr Johnson was busted with €30,000 worth of ecstasy tablets in 2007.

This was a crime for which he was given the benefit of the Probation Act at Dublin District Court in 2008 as he was underage at the time.

Sources say that the examination of mobile phone traffic will now play a major part in the garda investigation as officers look to build a case against the suspects.

As part of the investigation, gardai have been probing Mr Johnson's close association with a mid-level drug dealer from the Ronanstown area who is the leader of a small grouping of young dealers who operate outside a local pub.

Officers are continuing to appeal for information about the murder which happened in daylight on the evening of May 25 last.

Mask

The shooting - which was carried out with a semi-automatic 9mm pistol - took place outside the home of the victim's best friend.

His friend's girlfriend was in the driver's seat of the red '96 VW Golf car and the two were waiting for the friend to come out when the gunman ran alongside the car.

Sources are confident that neither Mr Johnson's best pal or his girlfriend had anything to do with the horrific mur- der.

The young couple are said to be "deeply, deeply traumatised" over the horrific murder.

It is thought several witnesses would have seen the killer - who didn't use a mask - as he fled from the scene on foot in the direction of the Neilstown Road in broad daylight.

After the shooting, gardai quickly got information that the murder was "a very localised matter".

The murder of Mr Johnson was the first gangland murder in the capital this year.

kfoy@herald.ie


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