Teen tried for armed robbery

| 08/12/2010

(CNS): Seventeen-year-old Elmer Wright faced six serious charges on Tuesday morning when his trial for armed robbery and attempted murder of a police officer opened in the Grand Court. The teen is accused of being part of a gang of four masked men that robbed Mostyns Esso gas station in Bodden Town in June this year. Wright is also accused of shooting at the police as he attempted to flee. The teenager appeared in the dock alone — the only man police have charged in connection with the robbery — as the crown reeled off the evidence against him. Opening the case for the prosecution, Cheryl Richards QC, the solicitor general, said the crown had eye witness, circumstantial and forensic evidence linking the teenager to the crime. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Seventeen-year-old Elmer Wright faced six serious charges on Tuesday morning when his trial for armed robbery and attempted murder of a police officer opened in the Grand Court. The teen is accused of being part of a gang of four masked men that robbed Mostyns Esso gas station in Bodden Town in June this year. Wright is also accused of shooting at the police as he attempted to flee. The teenager appeared in the dock alone — the only man police have charged in connection with therobbery — as the crown reeled off the evidence against him. Opening the case for the prosecution, Cheryl Richards QC, the solicitor general, said the crown had eye witness, circumstantial and forensic evidence linking the teenager to the crime. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Richards listed a catalogue of evidence against the young man, including DNA and gunshot residue linking Wright to the shotgun that was found where he was arrested, used to shoot at the police and in the commission of the robbery. The QC described the night’s events, in which she said the defendant, who was only 16 at the time, along with three other men robbed the gas station of around $1,000 with the use of shotguns before escaping towards George Town in a getaway car, which was chased by a passing police patrol unit.

The robbers turned into Northward Road, where they all got out of the car and three of them ran behind a house. The defendant, however, reportedly lingered behind. He loaded his shotgun and turned and fired at the unarmed police in the patrol car, which had pulled up behind the robbers.

The teen then took flight and was arrested a short while later by one of the USG units set up in the wake of the robbery on the corner of Beach Bay Road and Shamrock Road. He was found to have several hundred dollars on him and was wearing similar clothes to those described by the robbery victims, which were later found to have gunshot residue on them. A shotgun was also found very close by to the arrest, which later proved to have Wright’s DNA on it. The crown also revealed that swabs taken from the teen’s hands that evening tested positive for gunshot residue.

The first witnesses called by the crown to support its case were the two members of staff on duty at the gas station that night during the robbery. Describing the ordeal when three of the robbers carrying shotguns burst into the store, the cashier said she was very frightened.

“I was really scared as the gun was pointed on me,” the witness said. The cashier explained that there were several customers in the store at the time and the robbers told everyone to get down, hitting one in the face with the butt of his rifle. She said one robber told her to give him the money and she said she pressed the panic button as he opened the register, in which she said there was around $1,000. The robber then said, “Where’s the rest of the money?” but seconds later one of the other robbers spotted the police patrol car outside and shouted, “Police, police!” and all three men fled.

The witness gave a description of the men, what they were wearing and said they all spoke with Caymanian accents.

Meanwhile, the gas attend outside by the pumps told how the fourth robber had pointed the gun at him outside the store but said he had managed to crouch down behind a car outside the gas station and flag down the passing police patrol car and indicate he needed help.

Officer Christopher Samuels described how he and Officer Wendy Parchment were patrolling when they saw the gas attendant flagging them down at the station.

The officer explained how, as they pulled on to the forecourt, they soon realised a robbery was going on and that they called 911 and alerted other units, as the robbers came out of the store and got in the getaway car. Samuels said he then pursued the car in the direction of George Town using the sirens and blue lights. He described the high speed chase, dodging and weaving traffic, until the robbers turned into Northward Road and parked on a lot in front of a house. There they abandoned the car and ran down the right hand side of the property, all except one, who turned to face the police vehicle.

Samuels said he did not realise what the man was doing until he raised the shotgun and fired it at him. For a second or two the officer believed he had been hit. “I was fearful. I thought I was shot and started to pat myself down tosee where I was shot, expecting to find blood,” he recalled. The officer said he was able to compose himself and put the car in reverse to pull away from the danger area.

The judge alone trial before Justice Smith continues tomorrow in Grand Court One and is expected to last five days.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

Comments are closed.