Accused gunmen opt for jury

| 30/08/2010

(CNS): The three young men accused of killing Omar Samuels (28) last year have elected to have their case tried by a jury. The trial of Patrick McField (23), Osbourne Douglas (23) and Brandon Leslie (24) opens in the Grand Court on Monday morning before Justice Charles Quin. The three men are accused of shooting Samuels on 5 July 2009 in McField Lane, George Town. Although he was shot in the leg the bullet penetrated Samuels’ femoral artery causing him to bleed to death. The murder triggered what police described as a spate of tit for tat shootings, which lasted until March of this year when Damion Ming became the most recent victim of the gang violence.

The three men accused of killing Samuels are all represented by Queen’s Counsel from the UK and local defence attorneys Nicholas Dixie, Ben Tonner and Clyde Allen. The crown’s case will be made by Cheryl Richards QC, the solicitor general, supported by crown counsel Trisha Hutchinson.
 
Douglas, Leslie and McField were all arrested in August and charged with the murder on 5 September, two months after the shooting, by the senior investigator, former Detective Inspector Kim Evans.
 
The murder was the second shooting in 2009 following the murder of Jerome Russell, who was shot at the Shir Reynolds club in George Town. No one has ever been arrested in connection with that killing.
 
Three days after the killing of Samuels, the third shooting of 2009 occurred when three young men were shot in Bonaventure Road in West Bay. Twenty-year-old Marcus Ebanks was killed and Adryan Powell who was fourteen at the time was critically wounded and remains in a wheel chair as a result of the gun shot wound. Ebanks’ brother Rod (18) was also shot but he recovered from his injuries. Twenty-six-year-old Raziel Omar Jeffers has since been charged with both Ebanks’ murder and the attempted murder of Powell and has been committed to the Grand Court for trial.
 
A few weeks after the Bonaventure shooting, on 9 September, Carlos Webster was shot in the head and killed inside the Next Level Night Club (now known as Jet) on the West Bay Road. No one has been charged with this murder and the police commissioner, David Baines has frequently berated witnesses for not coming forward as there were over 150 people in the club at the time of the shooting.
 
Fabian Reid was then killed in Newlands on 13 October when he and a woman were shot at in a car by masked gunmen. No one has been charged for that crime. Nor has anyone been charged for shooting Fabian Powell six times on 28 December when he was gunned down outside Wellie’s Cool spot in George Town.
 
Baines, who arrived on island to take up his post of commissioner weeks after the shootings began, described the gang violence as tit for tat and said it was down to disputes between two West Bay gangs and a George Town gang. The RCIPS attempted to keep the known gang members apart from each other by getting in between them with road blocks and following the known gang members around.
 
However, that did not prevent the murder of five-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, who was shot and killed as a gunman took aim at the family car being driven by his father Andy Barnes at a gas station in West Bay in February. Devon Anglin has since been charged with the crime and hearings in relation to that case continue on in the summary court.
 
A few weeks later, Marcos Mauricio Gauman Duran, an Ecuadorian national from the George Town District, was shot outside apartments in Maliwanas Way and a 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder, there is still speculation on whether this was a gang related killing or simply a robbery gone wrong.
 
Alrick Peddie (25) was then shot and killed in the middle of the afternoon in West Bay on March 24. Three men were arrested and then charged with the murder but legal wrangling regarding the use of anonymous witnesses by the prosecution continue in the courts.
 
The latest murder that police have said they believe was gang related was the killing of Damion Ming, who was shot in his yard on 25 March in Birch Tree Hill, West Bay. Raziel Jeffers has also been charged with this murder. Ming was shot the night before hewas due to return to Northward prison, having had his appeal on a drug conviction, for which he was still on bail, overturned by the Privy Council in the UK the day before.
 
At the recent community meetings Baines has said that the police have managed to get the gang violence under control and noted that most of what he calls the “triggermen” are either dead or in jail.
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