InQueensland

NEWS •⁠ POLITICS •⁠ BUSINESS •⁠ CULTURE

Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

'I'm gonna run him off his bike': Jilted lover accused of killing ex-Bronco's brother

News

A jilted ex-lover vowed to kill love rival Jakob Opacic, brother of NRL player Tom Opacic, before he was found fatally injured on the side of the road, court documents reveal.

Print article

Steven Dale Latter, 28, and Benjamin Charles Johnson, 29, both faced Southport Magistrates Court on Monday charged with murder.

Police will allege the pair had been waiting on Nerang-Murwillumbah Road on Friday – the day Johnson’s former partner Rheannon Rowe was released from Numinbah Correctional Centre in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Police allege Rowe had been met by her family and her new partner Jake Opacic, whose brother Tom plays for the Parramatta Eels, just after 10am.

As they were leaving the centre, they came upon Rowe’s former boyfriend Johnson and Latter parked by the side of the road in a Toyota Camry.

The car’s bonnet was up making it appear the vehicle had broken down, police allege in documents tendered to the court.

Rowe and her family stopped and Johnson tried to convince his former partner to return home as Opacic, her new partner, rode on, only to return a short time later.

During an argument, Rowe insisted she was going home with Opacic, who parked 200 metres away, revving his motorcycle as he taunted Johnson “beckoning him to approach”.

Rowe fought to keep the men apart as Johnson’s anger erupted.

“I’m going to kill him, I’m gonna kill him,” Johnson is alleged to have said.

“I’m gonna run him off his bike.

“Jake stole my girlfriend, he rubbed it in my face. I’ll f***ing kill him.”

Opacic rode off, followed by Johnson and Latter in the Camry and trailed by Rowe and her family.

“After a short distance, they have then observed the black Camry returning northbound and flashing their high beams,” police allege.

“Johnson has exited the Camry and said: ‘He’s come off his bike. We didn’t do anything’,” the documents state, with a witness claiming he smirked as he spoke.

The family found Opacic and his bike by the side of the road, with a Toyota bumper nearby.

Despite desperate attempts, he could not be revived and died at the scene.

Both accused fled the scene before Johnson surrendered to police at Laidley about 2am on Saturday.

Police impounded a vehicle found in that area which is undergoing forensic examination.

Latter was arrested on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday afternoon.

Johnson appeared in the dock, removing his face mask to mouth “Love you, mum” to his mother in the court gallery, who wiped away tears as he was led from the court.

Latter’s defence lawyer Campbell MacCallum said the death was a “tragic incident”.

“It is unclear exactly what the allegation is at this stage. The police, of course, are alleging it wasn’t an accident,” he said outside court.

“Police are alleging that the intention was to murder or take the life of the deceased, but the facts certainly don’t completely support that at this stage.”

Both defendants declined to be interviewed.

The men did not apply for bail and were remanded in custody for mention on August 3.

More News stories

Loading next article