Jeffers cases postponed in face of murder appeal

| 30/03/2012

Jeffers.jpg(CNS): Two pending murder cases against Raziel Jeffers (28) have been deferred until after his appeal of the conviction handed down last month for murder and attempted murder in connection with a gang related killing in West Bay almost three years ago. The court heard Friday morning that Jeffers has been granted legal aid in order for his current attorney, Richard Barton,  to take his case to the higher court. The crown had been pushing to set a trial date for the two other cases pending against Jeffers relating to separate fatal shootings that took place in March 2010,  but it conceded Friday that the appeal would have to be heard first.

The prosecuting counsel noted that Jeffers’ appeal focuses on the key witness against him for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of three other men in Bonaventure Lane. Jeffers was convicted in February of being one of two masked gunmen who opened fire on a group of young men sitting in the West Bay yard in July 2009. During the trial the crown’s case had relied on the testimony of Adryan Powell, who was 14 at the time of the shooting and who is now confined to a wheelchair as a result of his injuries, and that of Jeffers' former lover, 19-year-old Megan Martinez.

The mother of one of Jeffers' children, Martinez told the court during the judge alone trial that Jeffers had confessed to her that he had accidently shot Ebanks and the others when he was actually aiming for Jose Sanchez, a gang rival.

Martinez has also told police that Jeffers confessed other crimes to her during their time together and it is on this evidence that the crown will rely to prosecute Jeffers for the murder of Damion Ming, another gang rival, in Birch Tree Hill and number’s man Marcus Duran in Maliwinas Way.

The crown had attempted to try Jeffers for the shooting of the numbers man last May, alongside a teenager who was also accused of the murder. However, the West Bay teen’s attorney was successful in severing her young client and securing a separate trial.

The West Bay teen was acquitted of shooting as the judge said the crown had not proved the teen was involved in the killing. Justice Charles Quin said there was no evidence that young defendant was part of a joint enterprise to rob the victim or that he had been recruited into the crime by Jeffers.

Prosecuting counsel said Friday that the outcome of Jeffers' appeal would affect the position of the crown in connection with the Duran and Ming murder cases as both depend on the evidence of the same key witness.

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