Teen stands solo for murder

| 16/05/2011

(CNS): Following a successful application by attorneys representing 18-year-old Jordon Manderson, on Tuesday the West Bay teen will face trial on his own for the murder of Marcos Duran. Although the crown has also charged Raziel Omar Jeffers with the same crime, ongoing legal representation problems led the judge to sever the two defendants' trials. Manderson was arrested and charged in the wake of the fatal March 2010 shooting in West Bay and has been in custody ever since. Three trial dates have already been postponed because of Jeffers’ lack of representation and Justice Charles Quin ruled Friday that, in the interests of justice, Manderson’s trial must go ahead, but without a lawyer Jeffers could not be tried.

Razial, who is also from West Bay, was charged several months after Manderson and the crown moved to join the defendants on the indictment but encountered problems from the start when Jeffers, who was already facing one murder charge, had difficulties finding appropriate representation. Attempts by the crown to join the two defendants dragged on, causing persistent delays for Manderson, who had first expected to be tried last November.

The judge acknowledged the difficulty this presented the crown, which will have to recall witnesses and risks getting different results for one crime. However, he stated that his “overriding concern” was the length of time Manderson had been waiting for trial.

The murder took place on 11 March at an apartment block in Maliwinas Way, just off North West Point Road, at around 7:30 in the evening, when Marcos Mauricio Gauman Duran, an Ecuadorian national who was believed to have been collecting cash in relation to illegal gambling, was gunned down in what was suspected to be a robbery. Manderson, who was sixteen at the time, also received a severe gunshot wound to his leg on the same night and was arrested the next morning.

The trial will open in Grand Court one on Tuesday morning at 10:30 and is expected to be tried by judge alone.

Jeffers has been given one month to find legal representation for this particular killing, which is one of three charges the 27-year-old West Bay man faces for murder. Jeffers is expected to go on trial in the summer for the murder of Marcus Ebanks (20) and the attempted murder of Adrian Powell, who was 14 at the time. The shooting took place at the junction of Turtle Lane and Bonaventure Road in July 2009, when two masked men emerged from the bushes and opened fire on a group of boys who were hanging out near the local children’s home.

Jeffers has also been charged with the killing of Damion Ming, who was shot dead in his yard on Birch Tree Hill the night before he was supposed to return to prison after an appeal against a drugs charged had been denied by the Privy Council in London.  That killing occurred just two weeks after the shooting of Duran on 25 March.

Although Jeffers has representation for the charges in connection with the incident in Bonaventure Road, so far he has not found an attorney able to work with him in the other two cases. Jeffers has claimed that the crown’s evidence against him for all three cases comes from one witness.

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