Jeffers is killer says ex-lover

| 25/01/2012

Jeffers.jpg(CNS): The former girlfriend of Raziel Jeffers, who is on trial for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of four other men in a gang related shooting in July 2009, told the court Tuesday that he had confessed to her that he was one of the gunmen. As the trial moved into its second week, 19-year-old Megan Martinez, who is the mother of one of Jeffers’ children, took the witness stand and stated that the defendant had told her he had shot Ebanks by mistake because on the night of the shooting it was dark and he looked very like Jose Sanchez, the man who was his enemy and intended target.

From the witness stand, Martinez said Jeffers had told her that, because Sanchez wanted to kill him, it was a matter of “kill or be killed”, as he made his alleged confession while the two of them sat on the boardwalk at Ocean Club condos in March 2010. Martinez said the couple were discussing the “innocent people” who had been killed in the war between the gangs in West Bay when Jeffers had told her he was the shooter.

She said she had spoken about Jeremiah Barnes, a four-year-old child who had been gunned down the month before at a local gas station as a result of the gang war. She said it was then that Jeffers told her that Marcus wasn’t meant to die and he felt bad about what had happened. But he said he had gone into the yard and zoned in on Ebanks thinking he was Sanchez.

Although Sanchez was present in the yard on the evening of the murder, he had escaped injury because he ran into the house immediately as the two masked gunmen approached the yard. When he had given evidence, however, he said he was unaware of anything between him and Jeffers and had failed to identify the shooters.

During her evidence Martinez said she had often seen her former lover with guns, including an AK47 as well as revolvers and hand guns. She said that one firearm was kept inside a broken armchair at his father’s home in Fairbanks Road. The teen told the court that Jeffers had even named one of the guns he had shown to her as “Grumps”. Martinez said she believed most of the guns that the boys in the gangs had access to came from Scranton in George Town, which is where they were hidden.

The teen mother said that she and Jeffers had an on-and-off relationship, which had not gotten off to a very good start because after she discovered she was pregnant he had denied being the father and it was not until his son was sixweeks old that he had acknowledged that it was his child.

She said she had discovered she was expecting Jeffers' baby when she went to the hospital after Jose Sanchez had assaulted her one evening in 2008 when she had gone to visit with Sanchez’ girlfriend at the time, who, Martinez said, was her friend. She told the court that as he beat her he told her to get her “bad man Raz” to come to her defence.

Martinez said that after their child was born she, Jeffers and the baby moved into an apartment together in West Bay and it was shortly after that the shooting at Bonaventure took place. She told the court that she did not know that Jeffers was the shooter that night but she suspected deep in her heart that he was.

On the afternoon of the shooting, Martinez said, a man called Osborne, or Ozzy, had visited their apartment in Nickel Lane, off Birch Tree Hill Road. She said it was the first time she had met him but he made her feel uncomfortable as he was “soulless” and she did not want him around her son. 

She said the men went outside into the yard to talk and smoke marijuana. After a while Jeffers told her he was going to take Ozzy to Scranton and they were going to do some “fishing or start a mission”, which she understood meant they were looking for their enemies.

Later that night, the witness said, Jeffers called her and told her that people had been shot and someone had been killed in Joseph Hurlston’s yard in Bonaventure. Jeffers had said he could not trust the police not to assume he was involved and so he would not be coming home. She said he did not say he was responsible and did not tell her where he was going to stay. Martinez said he had instructed her not to tell the police that Ozzy had been anywhere near their house.

She admitted that she had given the police a false statement when they came to interview her a few days after the killing while Jeffers was still under arrest as a suspect in the immediate wake of the shooting.

Martinez said she did not tell the police the truth until May 2010, when she went to them and told them everything she knew, including about the confession.

At the time of the shooting, she said, she did not trust the police and she was afraid for her life and that of her son. The witness said that she was aware of people who had spoken to the police who were killed and fed to the fish. The teenage mother, who was at the time of the shooting only 16, also revealed to the court that Jeffers was not only her boyfriend and baby’s father but because she had no parents he was also her legal guardian. 

“So I lied,” she said, adding that she later retracted the false statement and told the truth about everything.

Martinez told the court that she had loved Jeffers and still cared about him but she had to think of a better life for her child.

Under cross examination by Peter Champagnie, Jeffers' defence counsel, it was revealed that she had given some eleven statements in all to the police. She admitted that she had lied in the first statement, given on the 11 July in the wake of the murder, but denied being an untruthful witness. She said she had not lied about the events she described in the statement but just the date when they happened.

As the defence counsel tried to get Martinez to admit she was not a truthful witness, she said that she knew Jeffers was a murderer. That was not her judgment to make, Champagnie said, as he pointed to what he said were at least eight lies in her first statement.

She said she could not be clear about dates and that Jeffers had beaten her senseless so she could not see well. Reluctant to answer the defence attorney’s questions, she accused the lawyer of deliberately confusing her and that the last statement she had given to the police was the truth.

The case was adjourned Tuesday afternoon and Martinez is expected to return to the stand on Wednesday morning.

Prior to Martinez’ evidence, Miami based ballistics expert Alan Greenspan gave evidence in relation to the bullets and casings found at the scene. He confirmed that at least three weapons were used in the shooting at Bonaventure on the night Ebanks was murdered and two other men were gunned down. He said that at least one of those weapons was also used in a previous crime in Cayman.

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