Archive for March 18th, 2014

Jealousy WB murder motive

| 18/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The murder of Damion Ming four years ago in a West Bay yard was down to jealousy and not gang rivalry, the crown claimed Tuesday, as it opened its case against Raziel Jeffers, the man accused of gunning down Ming. Andrew Radcliff, QC, presented the prosecution’s case to the jury, acknowledging that the men were on opposing sides of the West Bay gang troubles but said the motive for the killing was “the oldest one in the world” when he said that Jeffers shot Ming over a woman. The mother of Jeffers' son and his former lover is also the crown’s main witness in the case as a result of a confession Jeffers allegedly made to her days after the killing.

Setting the context of the case against Jeffers on behalf of the crown, Radcliff told the jury that Ming was working with a group of men on a boat parked on a trailer at an address in Birch Tree Hill Road on the night of 25 March 2010 when he was shot and killed by Jeffers. The prosecutor said Jeffers approached the property from the rear on a bicycle and then opened fire on Ming with an automatic handgun. Of the eight or so bullets fired that night at around 9:30pm, two of those rounds hit Ming in the chest and back.

Radcliff said that the crown would prove that Jeffers had “executed” his rival for his girlfriend's affections as well as his rival in the district gangs through a combination of her detailed evidence, much of which, the crown says, she could not have known unless she was told by the real killer, and through corroboration of that evidence from other witnesses and cell phone data.

The prosecutions said Jeffers had described Ming openly as his enemy because of the rivalry between the Birch Tree Hill gang, of which Jeffers was associated, and the Logwood boys, the gang to which Ming was said to be a part.

Although his child's mother was dating Jeffers at the time of the murder, when their son was just a year old, she had known Ming before starting a relationship with Jeffers. As a result of their volatile and often violent relationship, a short time before the killing she and Jeffers had split and almost immediately she had begun to associate and spend time with Ming.

When Jeffers heard of this he was said to have become enraged, the crown told the jury, and consumed with jealousy. He confronted his girlfriend about taking up with his enemy and had been very angry. However, despite their differences the couple reconciled and in March 2010 resumed living together as a couple with their young son.

Already suspicious that it was the fatherof her own child that may have killed Ming, sometime after the killing, the prosecution said, Jeffers confirmed his girlfriend's fears and made a detailed confession to her about how he had killed Ming, all of which fits with the facts of the case. Describing the entire episode in detail about how he had arrived at the scene on a bicycle, which was corroborated by other witnesses who say the gunman had fled the scene on a push bike, Jeffers allegedly told his girlfriend where he was when he shot the man he believed she had had an affair with, how many times he shot him, where he fell and how he had crawled under the boat.

All of these details, the crown said, would be corroborated by the evidence from other witnesses and details than she could never have known had she not heard it from the killer.

Although the finger of suspicion pointed at Jeffers in the immediate wake of the killing and despite his arrest, he was released soon after. It was not until he was arrested on an unrelated minor matter but held in custody again that his girlfriend, the crown said, found the courage to go to the police and tell them what he had told her about his part in the murder of Ming.

The confession she reported to the police was also supported by cell site evidence, Radcliff told the jury Tuesday, as he summarized the crown's case ahead of calling the first live witnesses on Wednesday.

The case is expected to last some three weeks and the first witnesses will be called tomorrow. Two key witnesses, however, have died since the murder and as a result the evidence will be read to the jury without being tested by the defence.

PC Raphael Williams was the first police officer to respond to the shooting that night but in a tragic set of circumstances, he recently took his own life after he was arrested as a result of unproven allegations of abuse of office.  An independent investigation into Williams' arrest and subsequent suicide was undertaken by the Bermuda police service but the conclusions have not been made public.

Tyrone Burell, who was working on the boat with Ming on the night in question, gave a statement to the police in the wake of the shooting, but in a shocking turn of events he was gunned down in the very same yard in Birch Tree Hill some six months later. Leonard Ebanks was convicted of murdering Burell in September 2011.

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Murder trial stretches jury panel to limits

| 18/03/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): The issues relating to Cayman's limited jury pool were highlighted this week in the Grand Court when the current jury panel was exhausted to its limits during the selection of twelve men and women to serve in a murder case. Raziel Jeffers (29) is charged with the killing of Damion Ming in a West Bay yard in March 2010, and given the long list of witnesses in the case as well the number of people who know the defendant, many people were unable to serve. After the more than two hour long process on Monday challenges from the crown and defence, coupled with family ties and connections with potential jurors, the court had just eleven people for what should be a twelve strong jury.

As a result, on Tuesday jurors from the next jury panel, who were not due to be called until April, were called up and eventually, after just two challenges, a twelfth juror was selected. The five women and seven men were eventually formally impanelled and a foreman selected ahead of the trial, which was opened by Andrew Radcliffe, QC, for the crown Tuesday before visiting UK judge Justice Malcolm Swift.

Jeffers is represented by Michael Wolkind, QC, from the UK instructed by Fiona Robertson from Samson and McGrath. The trial is taking place in Grand Court One and is set down for three weeks.

This is not the first time that the courts have faced difficulties selecting juries where cases involve well known defendants or long lists of witnesses, as a result of the limited number of people in Cayman who qualify to serve as jurors and the size of the jurisdiction.

The local authorities have frequently discussed the possibility of widening the potential pool of jurors beyond the electoral roll, which forms the primary basis for those qualified to serve and to remove some of the professions which are restricted. Suggestions about allowing permanent residents to serve on juries raised concerns, however, because of the fundamental principle of being tried by a jury of one's peers.

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Local men arrested in Jamaica after illegal landing

| 18/03/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS have confirmed that at least two Caymanian nationals have been arrested in Jamaica for immigration offences. A police spokesperson confirmed Monday that the RCIPS is currently liaising with Jamaican law enforcement officials regarding the arrests which occurred recently after the men are believed to have landed on the neighbouring island illegally. At least one of the two men is also charged with local offences for which he is currently on bail. Police have not given any further details.

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Workers help kids of missing woman

| 18/03/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Employees at the Water Authority have made a donation to the children of Anna Evans of various gift certificates from their Christmas charity project. It is now more than three years since their mother disappeared and life has not been easy for the children who now reside with their guardian after their father was deported. Evans was reported missing in 2011 after she was last seen at the landfill where she worked by her cousin sometime between 11.45am and 12 noon on Thursday, 27 January. Thirty seven year old Evans a mother of five children worked as a director of wagons at the landfill site and when she did not meet up with her work colleagues at the end of her shift friends and family began searching.

With no sign of her that evening they contacted the police. However, despite extensive searches there has been no trace of Evans and she remains on Cayman’s missing person’s list.

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US drug probe rolls on in CI

| 18/03/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The RCIPS has refused to comment about the investigations underway in Cayman relating to the arrest of a local businessman in Puerto Rico. Although CNS understands that US law enforcement officials are now here, on Monday a police spokesperson refused to confirm or deny their presence but stated that the RCIPS was cooperating with the relevant authorities. Bryce Gilroy Merren is currently detained at the Guaynabo jail in Puerto Rico facing drug trafficking and money laundering charges in relation to a conspiracy to smuggle some 3,000 kilos of cocaine. Merren was arrested following the transfer of $200,000 on 3 March from a Cayman bank to one set up in San Juan by a US agent posing as a drug dealer.

At least one other individual is named in the affidavit filed by the US Homeland Security agent working the case but speculation mounted locally over the weekend that the conspiracy may be much wider and that a full scale investigation is now underway.

On Monday in a short statement the police said, “The RCIPS can confirm that it has been in consultation with our US and Puerto Rican colleagues in relation to the arrest of a local businessman on drug related matters. Any further queries should be directed to the substantive investigative agency, which is not the RCIPS.”

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Thief makes 10% offer on loot

| 18/03/2014 | 39 Comments

(CNS): A woman accused of stealing more than US$437,300 from an offshore trust while she was working for a local law firm offered Monday to pay back just $44,000, following an enquiry ordered by the court in response to a crown application for compensation. Patricia Glasgow admitting stealing the money over a three year period from a client when she worked at Bodden Corporate Services Ltd. During the last few months since Glasgow’s admission, the court has been trying to find out what happened to the money and what, if any, is left that can be recovered on behalf of the victims.

Following a number of hearings, in which the court heard various accounts of what had happened to the money and where it had gone, in the end it appeared that just $75,000, which Glasgow had paid into her brother’s bank account on the eve of her arrest, remained.

However, following that money trail, it appeared that some had been used to cover her rent and other expenses and some was given to her son and a friend in financial difficulty. On Thursday morning crown counsel Toyin Salako asked Justice Charles Quin to include a compensation order when he passes sentence on Glasgow of $57,000, as the crown established that was what should now remain of the $75,000.

Although any compensation order would be against Glasgow, the offer came from her brother on her behalf, as he stated through his own attorney, James Stenning, that he felt it was the right thing to do. Stenning revealed that Glasgow had originally paid the money into her brother's account without his knowledge. He told the court that a payment of $30,000 could be made immediately and a further $14,000 in three months.

Ben Tonner, the defence attorney representing Glasgow, who is remanded in custody, said that whatever had happened she now had no money and he urged the court not to exceed the offer made by her brother. He pointed out that she would be in jail for some time and on her release, given the conviction, finding work would not be easy. Tonner warned that the court would be setting her up to fail as Glasgow “would find herself under pressure”, he said, to find the extra money if the court made an order over and above that offered.

Following the final submissions from the attorneys, the judge adjourned the hearing until 27 March, when he said he would deliver his sentencing decision.

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Cuban detainees make mass escape from centre

| 18/03/2014 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Twenty-five Cuban migrants being held at the Fairbanks immigration detention centre made a bid for freedom Monday afternoon, giving cause for concern about how the Cayman Islands government is handling the ongoing issue relating to Cuban migrants. Police said that at about 3:30pm today (17 March) they received reports that the latest group of Cubans that had been detained in George Town had all escaped. Officers were dispatched to the location and together with officers from the enforcement arm of the immigration department they managed to find 24 of the migrants in different areas. However, one man is still at large, police stated.

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