Tarrawanna man Zlatan Popovic allegedly planned, directed and paid for the infamous 2007 shooting of Dragan Sekuljica at Wollongong’s Splashes nightclub.
The convicted felon, who allegedly contracted the hit, was refused bail in Wollongong Local Court yesterday after being charged with Mr Sekuljica’s murder, more than five years after the public shooting.
The court was told Popovic, 40, was just one of several people involved in the killing and further arrests were imminent.
Mr Sekuljica was shot outside the one-time Cliff Road club by a masked gunman just before 3am on September 8, 2007.
The father of two ran back into the nightclub but collapsed near the bar as the shooter fired a further three shots execution-style, including a fatal bullet to his head.
Dragan Sekuljica died at the scene while a 44-year-old security guard was shot and injured.
Police claim Popovic and the shooter were known to each other and that Popovic made several cash payments to the gunman just days after the murder.
It is also alleged Popovic attended meetings at Wollongong's Collegians Rugby League Club and Kings Chinese restaurant in the lead-up to the shooting to plot Mr Sekuljica's murder.
On the night of the incident, Popovic allegedly met someone at Collegians before returning home, where he remained for the evening.
Mr Sekuljica, 29, arrived at the club after midnight, and about an hour later a flurry of phone calls allegedly occurred between Popovic and other nightclub-goers who told him Mr Sekuljica was partying inside.
Police claim Popovic then directed other people to murder Mr Sekuljica, ordering them to pick up a revolver before they grabbed clothing including a baggy jacket and a beanie, which was fashioned into a mask.
It is alleged they then went to the club where Mr Sekuljica and another of Popovic's associates had stepped outside.
Popovic was phoned about Mr Sekuljica's movements and he then rang the others, co-ordinating them to execute the murder, the court was told.
Just minutes after the shooting, Popovic allegedly spoke to several associates and discussed the murder.
Police overheard a monitored phone call last week, suggesting witnesses in the case, including investigating police officers, were at risk, and immediately arrested Popovic.
The court heard further arrests were likely in the next fortnight.
Making a tearful plea for bail yesterday, Popovic spoke directly to the court, blaming his wife's recent suicide on constant hounding from the homicide squad who had investigated him over the shooting.
He claimed the investigation was bogus, stating he was simply not at the club that night.
"This murder is nothing to do with me ... I knew the person who died, everyone in town did [but] I did not [do it] ... police know where I was and who I was with ... I was not there, I was not responsible," he said.
The court was told Popovic wanted bail to attend his wife's funeral and was willing to comply with reporting and surety conditions.
Opposing bail, police prosecutor Shannon Ryan argued Popovic was an extreme risk to the community.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart adjourned the matter to November 14.