Witness reveals gang connections in murder trial

| 25/05/2011

(CNS): A former girlfriend of the man accused of killing Marcus Duran, but who is not yet on trial, gave evidence against him via video link on Tuesday, stating that it was his idea to blame the “Logwood boys” for the murder. The crown’s case against teen defendant Jordan Manderson is tied to the theory that he was part of a joint enterprise to rob Duran with Raziel Jeffers, who it says orchestrated the crime and then in the wake of the fatal shooting came up with the plan to blame other West Bay gang members. The mother of Jeffers' son told the court that he told her to go to the police and make a statement saying the boys he was at war with, including Andy Barnes, were probably the ones that shot the numbers man. (Photo courtesy of Cayman 27)

The crown called the nineteen-year-old mother to give evidence in Manderson’s trial because the teen also told police that it was Andy Barnes and Damion Ming (who was shot and killed two weeks later) that killed Duran. The Ecuadorian national was shot twice in the head outside the apartment of the witness’s aunt in Maliwinas Way, West Bay, in March 2010 as he visited her as one of his regular numbers customers.

Seeking to connect Manderson and Jeffers and also offer evidence of a conspiracy to blame others for their joint criminal act, the crown asked Jeffers’ girlfriend, who is now overseas, to tell the court about Jeffers’ activities on the night of the killing.

She revealed how Jeffers had dropped her and their baby that evening at around 6:30pm at her friend’s salon in West Bay at Batabano so she could get her hair done. The witness said he left in the Toyota Wyndham that he usually drove and after being at the salon for quite some time, she said, she received a call from him on her friend’s phone, as her battery was flat.

The witness said Jeffers sounded nervous and out of breathe and asked her to go pick him up, although she did not have a car and he had left in one a couple of hours earlier. He asked her to come get him in her friend’s car.

“I asked what was going on but all he said was he needed a ride right now,” the witness told the court. She said that being aware of the “history between him and the other gangs” and given she could hear sirens in the background, she told her friend that his car had broken down and they should go pick him up. “I didn't know exactly what was going on and didn't want to speculate so I told her best thing that came to mind but I knew what kind of lifestyle Raziel lived,” the witness said.

The two women, along with the baby, set off to collect Jeffers from Ebanks Lane, which is linked to Maliwinas Way, the scene of the shooting, by a short path near the apartments where Duran’s body was found. When they arrived there, she said, at first they couldn’t see Jeffers but he emerged from bushes as they drove up the short lane and jumped into the car. He asked the girls to take him to a friend’s house in Dolphin Point.

Asked if she noticed anything about him by crown counsel, Jeffers' girlfriend said that although he was dressed the same he was no longer wearing the Nike sneakers he had on earlier but a pair of slippers instead and his arms were covered in scratches.

She said that she returned to the salon to finish with her hair and later on Jeffers returned in a van with a friend to pick up her and the baby to take them to an apartment in Ocean Club, where they were spending the night. She told the court that they were living with Jeffers’ father in Fairbanks at the time but this was his cousin’s apartment as Jeffers had said he did not want to stay at home. She revealed how they took a circuitous route out of West Bay before heading to Ocean Club.

That evening she revealed how Jeffers had made several phone calls to a number of his friends saying to her that he needed to know what was going on at Maliwinas Way, including the defendant Jordan Manderson, but she said he failed to reach anyone.

She said that later Jeffers had instructed her to go to the police and give them a statement saying she had the idea that it was Andy Barnes and the Logwood Boys that had killed the numbers man. The witness said these were the boys that Jeffers “was at war with”.

During cross examination it was revealed that the witness had a long time friendship with Damion Ming. This was one of the men that Manderson told police had killed Duran but who was shot and killed in his own yard two weeks after the Duran murder, but she denied having a sexual relationship with him.

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