Crown re-opens murder trial

| 06/04/2011

(CNS): William McLaughlin-Martinez faced trial for the second time for the murder of Brian Rankine-Carter today (Wednesday 6 April). The crown opened its case with a video link to its main witness, Jason Hinds, in Jamaica. Hinds, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder, was given a three year sentence but was released early and deported before McLaughlin’s original 2009 conviction was overturned on appeal. Before a jury of ten women and two men, Hinds recalled the events of the night of the murder in May 2008, when he says McLaughlin-Martinez killed Rankine in a frenzied attack with a machete and another sharp tool.

Telling his version of events for the second time the crown witness told how he and Martinez had met Rankine at the eastern star bar in east end and how he had agreed to drive them into George Town in his company work van.

Describing what wasbelieved to be a drug deal that had gone wrong, Hinds said that when they arrived in George Town, Martinez attacked Rankine, chopping him with the machete in what felt "Like a nightmare. He said he had tried to stop Martinez by pulling him off Rankine but he failed and when he felt a tool in Rankine’s hand he went back to the van in fear.

He told the court how he drove Martinez to various locations to dispose of the victim’s clothes and possessions, as well as the murder weapon before he took him home.

The two men were arrested the next morning after witnesses reported seeing the van shortly before they found the naked mutilated body of Rankine in McField Lane, George Town.

According to the crown, Hinds gave a full account to police soon after his arrest, saying that Martinez was the killer and he had helped him dispose of the evidence. Solicitor General Cheryl Richards told the jury that other witnesses and evidence would be presented during the trial that supported Hinds’ account.

Mark Tomassi, Martinez’ attorney, is expected to cross examine Hinds this afternoon and will present the defense position that Hinds, not his client, was the murderer.

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