Machete killer seeks second appeal

| 28/03/2012

mclaughlin martinez.jpg(CNS): The man found guilty by two separate juries of the killing of Brian Rankine-Carter (20) plans to appeal his second conviction which was handed down last April. William McLaughlin-Martinez was convicted of murdering the East Ender in a frenzied machete attack in a George Town parking lot after a drug deal went wrong in May 2008. The 35-year-old man was first tried and convicted in July 2009, but the verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2010 as a result of misdirection from the trial judge in response to a jury query. He was tried for the second time and again found guilty by a twelve person jury a verdict he now hopes to overturn.

The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal judges heard Tuesday that McLaughlin-Martinez has engaged a new legal defence team and as a result wanted his appeal to be heard in the November sitting of the higher court and not the forthcoming summer session.

Nick Hoffman who is the convicted man’s new local attorney told the court that his client wished to secure the services of Queen’s Council in the UK as there were numerous issues relating to the conviction that made it unsafe and it required a “fresh pair of eyes” to examine the many issues relating to what he said was an unsound conviction.

Hoffman pointed to a number of controversies from the way the crown’s principle witness, Jason Hinds, who claimed to have been with Martinez at the time of the killing was treated as well as the failure of the police  to test a machete found in Hinds’ yard the day after the murder.

During the trial pathologist Dr Bruce Hyma had described the brutal injuries suffered by Rankine Carter and concluded he had been killed as a result of multiple chop wounds to the head and neck. He said the murder weapon was likely to be something like a machete that was both sharp and blunt.

At the second trial Hinds gave evidence against Martinez via video link from Jamaica as he had been deported having served a short sentence after he pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of murder. The crown came close to losing the chance of the second conviction as the trial was postponed twice as a result of the difficulty in locating Hinds.

The witness had confessed to being at the crime scene shortly after his arrest and blamed Martinez who was his co-worker at a local plumbing firm for the killing. Hinds said he had also assisted in the disposal of evidence. The crown relied heavily on Hinds' account to build its case against Martinez in conjunction with forensic and circumstantial evidence, which they said supported his narrative of the night's events.

The case was marred by a number of what were described by the senior investigating officer on the case as "cock-ups" in the investigation and with the chain of evidence. As well as losing video tape evidence, police had failed to send the machete found at the home of Hinds for testing until the start of the first trial almost a year after the murder had taken place.


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Category: Crime

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