The family of Altona North man Richard Mladenich have said they won’t rest in peace until police catch his killer.
Mladenich, 37, was shot dead with a .25 calibre pistol at St Kilda’s Esquire Motel in Acland Street about 3.30am on May 16 , 2000.
A childhood friend of Roberta Williams, Mladenich was a well-known underworld figure with a wide range of criminal associates and links to the drug trade, police said.
Purana Taskforce detectives on Thursday renewed an appeal for information and revealed never before seen photos inside room 18 of the motel where Mladenich was shot.
Police are hoping a $1 million reward, first offered in 2011, will help solve the murder.
In 2011, Homicide Squad detectives appealed for a man who had provided information about a firearm potentially used in the shooting to contact them again.
Purana Taskforce Detective Sergeant Jesse Maxwell on Thursday said it was believed the shooter may have known Mladenich and entered the motel room through an unlocked door.
He said investigators strongly believed the murder from nearly 20 years ago amid Melbourne’s gangland war could be solved.
“Nineteen years has gone since Richard’s death and through that time people’s allegiances and loyalties change,” Detective Sergeant Jesse Maxwell said.
“A lot of people who were big players up back then, well they’re not around now. So, the fear of maybe talking has passed and we find that people, maybe they have seen the light and they want to come forward and speak to us.
“It’s a big thing to offload off your chest.”
He said there were “a lot of people of interest” with police searching for the shooter as well as those who may have assisted in organising the murder and been involved afterwards.
Mladenich’s older brother Mark said the family, including his 93-year-old mother, would not rest in peace until his murder was resolved.
“Nineteen years has been long enough,” Mr Mladenich said. “I’ve got faith in the police to resolve this case.
“He left a heartbroken mother, a brother and a family. He didn’t deserve what he got because Richard was a good family member.
“The coward who did this should be put away for a long long time because my brother hasn’t seen the sun come up or down for 19 years.”
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.