Teen IDs Jeffers as gunman

| 16/01/2012

Jeffers.jpg(CNS): Seventeen-year-old Adryan Powell told the Grand Court on Monday afternoon that Raziel Jeffers was one of the gunmen that opened fire on him in a yard in Bonaventure Road, West Bay, some two and a half years ago. The teenager, who was one month shy of his 15th birthday on the evening he was shot multiple times, is now confined to a wheelchair as a result of the injuries he suffered during the shooting.  Powell, who was one of three youngsters gunned down by the two masked shooters that night, including 20-year-old Marcus Ebanks who was killed, said he was 100 percent certain Jeffers had shot him as the mask he wore had slipped from his face.

The prosecution’s case against 28-year-old Raziel Jeffers of West Bay is that he was one of two men who, according to forensics, were armed with a least three guns when they indiscriminately opened fire on a group of boys and young mentalking in the West Bay yard at around 7:30pm on 8 July 2009. The men also gunned down the murder victim’s teenage brother, Rod Ebanks, who received four gunshot wounds but later recovered from his injuries.

As the Grand Court trial opened on Monday Jeffers was charged with one count of murder and four counts of attempted murder as well as possession of an unlicensed firearm in connection with the shooting. The crown claims that on the evening in question Jeffers’ target was not Ebanks but Jose Sanchez, who was a member of an opposing West Bay gang and a man with whom Jeffers also had a significant personal dispute in relation to his former and current girlfriends.

Although he was the target, Sanchez, who was the first to see the sudden arrival of the two gunmen on the night of the shooting, managed to escape to the safety of the house before the shooters opened fire, said Andrew Radcliffe, QC, prosecuting counsel for the crown.

As he presented an outline of the crown’s case against Jeffers, Radcliffe told the court that the prosecution would show through motive, forensic evidence, telephone records, a confession to his girlfriend and Adryan Powell’s identification that the defendant was one of the gunmen who shot and killed Marcus Ebanks and tried to kill the other men in a joint criminal enterprise.

In the long and detailed opening statement to Justice Charles Quin, who is presiding over the case alone without a jury, Radcliffe said it would show the court that Jeffers had met with a man in Scranton, George Town, shortly before the shooting to collect the weapons which the two of them used in the crime.

The crown counsel named the man as Osborne Douglas, who has not been charged in connection with the shooting.

The attorney said telephone records would show that Jeffers then drove back from George Town to West Bay, where he then shot the young men in the yard before making his escape via Scranton to an address in Bodden Town, where he was arrested in the early hours of the next morning.

Radcliffe said that gunshot residue (GSR) was found on a packet of cigarette papers taken from Jeffers when he was arrested at a house in Frederick Street. However, no other traces of GSR or firearms were found at the time of his arrest.

The attorney told the court that the defendant was released on bail soon after the arrest and it was not until several months later that Jeffers’ former girlfriend, Megan Martinez, told police that he had confessed to being one of the gunmen when they were still together.

The crown said the witness would also testify that, prior to the confession, Jeffers had told her on the night in question that he was going to Scranton to meet "Ozzy" and the two of them were “going fishing”, a term, Radcliffe said, that had nothing to do with the sea but implied he was going to look for his enemies.

The prosecuter said other witnesses would testify that Jeffers had bragged about beating up Sanchez and that it was time to start killing some of the opposing gang members.

Radcliffe added that Jeffers, as a member of the Birch Tree Hill gang, already had a factional animosity towards Sanchez, who is a member of the Logwoods gang, as a result of the war between the two West Bay groups. Added to that existing animosity, when Jeffers discovered that Sanchez had begun a sexual relationship with a former girlfriend of his while she was still with him, the dispute turned personnel, the crown said, and it was further compounded when Sanchez assaulted Martinez, the woman Jeffers was living with at that time.

The crown counsel took the judge through a detailed review of the phone evidence, which it said would corroborate the evidence that Martinez was expected to give as well track Jeffers' movements on the night of the killing and place him close to the murder scene.

Powell, who is now confined to a wheelchair, began his evidence around 3pm Monday afternoon via a live video link. He described how he had gone to the house in Bonaventure Road that evening to wait for another friend who had borrowed his bike, and how as he was chatting with the other young man the two masked gunmen had suddenly arrived at the yard and opened fire.

He told the court that he was struck down by one of the bullets and he had tried to run away, and as he went down he was also hit in the face. The teenager was to receive multiple gunshots during the indiscriminate firing but he remained conscious as he lay on the ground. He told the court that one of the gunmen went past him as he lay in the yard wounded. Powell said he believed even at that point it was Jeffers who had shot him because he had known him for more than two years from the district of West Bay and from playing football.

When the gunman then spun around and looked directly down on Powell, the mask he was wearing fell down exposing Jeffers’ face to the teen, who said they looked at each other for a few seconds before he readjusted the mask and moved away. Certain who it was, Powell told the court that after looking at his assailant he lay his face back down and played dead.

The case continues in court two tomorrow morning, when the defence will begin its cross-examination of the crown’s primary witness.

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