Accused teen killer a ‘friend’

| 28/05/2012

Asher Mcgraw.jpg(CNS): The East End teenager accused of killing 21-year-old Asher McGraw (left) was his friend, the crown’s key witness told the court Monday during the trial of 18-year-old Chakane Jamelle "CJ" Scott,  who is accused of gunning down McGaw on John McLean drive in September last year. However, the crown has offered no motive on why the teen turned on his friend and its case depends heavily on the eye witness account of Antascio Rankine. Giving evidence from the stand, the 18-year-old eye witness said he did not know and could not understand why Scott shot his closest friend as he told the court that he had run away when CJ began shooting.

Rankine told the court that in the early hours of 22 September last year the three friends had gone to the East End Health Clinic with a flare gun because McGaw wanted to let off one of the flare shots. He said that as McGaw let off the flare, right away he heard a real gunshot and turned to run. Then as he heard a second shot, he looked back and saw Scott chasing McGaw with a gun. He said he carried on running towards his yard but turned again to see McGaw fall to the ground and Scott stand over him and fire another shot.

The teen witness said he was shocked and confused and did not know why Scott was shooting. When he arrived at his own home, which was nearby, he ran to his room and took off his shirt and pants and got into his bed, he said, but could not sleep because he could not make any sense of what had happened.

He revealed how later that morning he had seen Scott again when he visited another home in East End to pick up some weed. The two men left the house together and Rankine said Scott warned him not to say anything about the shooting. “Don’t make anybody know about this,” Rankine said Scott had told him, which the teen witness said he took to be a serious threat.

Four days later Rankine was interviewed by the police but in his first statement he said nothing about seeing the shooting and denied knowing anything about what had happened. However, pressed by police Rankine eventually gave a second statement that same day in which he said he had seen Scott kill McGaw. He said, however, that he did not know why Scott would kill him.

Having to take several breaks and visibly struggling to give his evidence, Rankine said he had been afraid to tell the truth at first as he believed Scott might shoot him if he knew that he had talked to the police. Even if Scott was locked up, the witness said he believed he could find a way to get him.

Talking about the night of the shooting, he admitted that he had not gone to help McGaw because he felt Scott could just as easily shoot him. He told the court that he was completely confused about the incident and was not thinking straight so he did not call 911.

Under cross examination Rankine said that he and McGaw were very close and hung out together a lot. He said they had no secrets but he was unaware that McGaw had given a statement to the police in connection with a robbery that had occurred at Barefoot Beach in East End in February last year.

McGaw was shot before he gave evidence in the case, in which three men were accused of robbing two American tourists on the beach armed with a bat and a knuckle duster. The crown’s case against two of the men collapsed when McGaw was killed but a third man who had pleaded guilty to the robbery was jailed for 16 months.

McGaw’s body was found lying in the road by a police patrol car on Thursday 22 September. He had been shot multiple times in the head and body. He was the fifth victim of a spate of fatal shootings which had occurred over an eight day period that the police believed were gang motivated.

The Grand Court trial is being heard by Justice Alex Henderson, who is sitting alone without a jury. The trial is expect to conclude sometime next week and continues tomorrow in Court One.

Category: Crime

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