Bank robbers found guilty

| 09/05/2013

CNB robbery_0.jpg(CNS): Updated with full story:  It took the five men and seven women of the jury more than six hours to find David Tamassa, Rennie Cole, Andre Burton, George Mignot and Ryan Edwards all guilty of armed robbery. The jury deliberated over two days but came back on Thursday with an across the board verdict for all five defendants, who, despite their differing roles in the daylight bank heist at Cayman National Bank in Buckingham Square last June, had all been charged with robbery and possession of illegal firearms. The five men were convicted based mostly on the testimony of one key witness and co-conspirator, Marlon Dillon, who was arrested a few hours after the heist and made a full admission naming the other five men as his accomplices.

The men were all remanded in custody and were expected to have their first sentencing hearing Friday.

The crown’s case against the five men was that on 28 June last year they, along with Marlon Hudson Dillon, who pleaded guilty to the crime and is awaiting sentencing, robbed the Cayman National Bank shortly after 9 o'clock and made off with around $500,000. Their escape from the scene, however, was hampered by a security van that arrived at the bank just as they were fleeing and blocked their getaway vehicle. The robbers then took to the road on foot, dropping a significant chunk of the loot as they ran.

Ryan Edwards, who was arrested in Jamaica, was also convicted of the removal of criminal property as he was found in possession of more than $35,000 cash from the robbery. Edwards was believed to be the man who introduced the idea of the bank heist to David Tamassa and Marlon Dillon in 2011.

The alleged mastermind was David Tamassa, who, the crown argued, not only organized the crime but provided the guns. In his evidence Dillon told the court that the pump action shotgun used in the robbery belonged to Tamassa and the Lawson handgun had come from his friend. Despite the cell site evidence confirming Tamassa's alibi on the morning of the heist, Dillon’s evidence was enough to convict the Jamaican national, despite his absence from the crime scene.

The self-confessed robber also helped to bring the man he described as his betrayer, as he used Dillon’s own car for the job, to justice. AndreBurton was the getaway driver, and although the jury was presented with an alternative charge of accessory after the fact of robbery, he was convicted of armed robbery. Burton had claimed to be delivering ganja to a friend at the time of the robbery but the jury found him guilty.

Although Rennie Cole went into the bank bare faced and a valid check in hand to cash that morning, the jury was unconvinced that he was an innocent bystander in the robbery and believed he was used as the "bait" to distract the security guard, which allowed the other robbers to enter with ease, Dillon had claimed  in his evidence.

It was submitted by his defence counsel that George Mignot was frequently absent from work with a particular habit of being on leave on Thursdays. Despite the evidence, the jury seems to have relied more on the DNA evidence found on the cap retrieved from the getaway vehicle, as well as Dillon's testimony in court. Mignot was found guilty of the robbery and possession.

After 4 weeks of statements and interviews, viewing footage and photographs as well as observing various witnesses being cross examined, the jury reached a unanimous verdict, leaving all five convicted men looking at a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so tired of hearing Caymanian/Jamaican. What are true blooded born Caymanians bickering about? We are out numbered by this nationality and we have no where to run "thanks to our Hon. Premier (Mr. Bush) he should have everyone of his status giveaways strung around his neck. Imagine the many hard years of sweat and tears our forthfathers put into our heritage and look at what it has become, and the part that burns my soul is the fact these same people who have entered into our society has destroyed their own country, shake their fist in the Queens face, yet they are in here reaping our benefits as we choose to remain a crown colony. As far as I am concermed, where you are born is your nationality, the only place in the world I know that this mentality exist is in Cayman where it has been instituted soley on behalf of Jamaicans. Let me say here, I have outstanding Jamiacan friends who refuse to come and visit me, just because of the behaviour of some of these uncouth people who live here among good descent people. I am hoping this 2013 election will bring some peace and comfort to poor Caymanians who has lost their will power and self esteem of feeling unwanted and useless in their own country. They call us "old lazy Caymanians", yes they have all rights to label us as we are not given the opportunity to obtain descent jobs. They are quickly in charge of whereever they roost and they quickly make their own rules to employ their own nationality and not a Caymanian.  Immigration needs to be abolished and start afresh just  in case all I am hearing is correct and ensure when people time is up they return home and not be issued a fresh permit in another 3 years. I hope the new representative will also make laws to ensure the only flags flown here in Cayman is the British flag. It is a sore eye to see Jamaican flags everywhere you turn, in church yards, on cars and taxi cabs. Every side of the road is infested by roadside vendors, and please stop polluting our air with rings of black smoth from junk old cars and mini vans. Our island needs a "clean up campaign" I never dream Cayman could become such a mess and we have found ourselves outrun, overrun and downright endangered species. Caymanians please vote wise this time, our life depends on this our last chance to take our island back from disaster. Concerned Caymanian!


    • Anonymous says:

      "Sum ov my best freinds is of Jaimaican descent, so why is they calling me a bigut?"

  2. John Gray Grad says:

    Andre is Caymanian, I believe we used to call him ‘Cutta’. So lets stop blaming the Jamaicans and anyone else we can for our gang banging problems. Our biggest problem is our sense of entitlement, high school graduates and non-grads who have no tertiary education refuse to work for less than the lifestyle they want costs. So they instead sell drugs and steal, without shame (note Andre’s defense) because they think they deserve it. Caymanians are our own worst enemy, we feel the world owes us a living. It’s ok I’m allowed to say it, I is Caymanian bobo.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's not a question of blaming others for our problems. We have to identify the source of problems whether they be internal or external. Pretending that either one does not exist, and that our problems are either exclusively homegrown or exclusively foreign is foolish. Telling us that 1 of 5 robbers is Caymanian does not prove what you would like it to prove.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, from his Fb page he looks very Caymanian ; <)

    • Anonymous says:

      thank you for the honesty…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Just for clarity ! Andre Burton was born in Jamaica to 2 full Jamaican parents.  He came here and is now a "paper Caymanian", as a result of 1 of his parents being married to a ' full born and bread ' Caymanian.  But what difference does it make?  The crime has been committed and the reputational damage is done.  Aren't crimes of all sorts committed locally by foreign nationals as well as Caymanians?  

      • Anonymous says:

        It makes a big difference because based on the facts you present he probably ceased to be Caymanian automatically on his 18th birthday unless he applied for and obtained continuation and in any event, even if he continues to validly hold Caymanian status, it can and should be revoked under our Law. He is and remains a Jamaican national, sadly one who has AGAIN tarnished the reputation of that country in foreign lands.

    • Anonymous says:

      The usual PC nonsense. Burton is Jamaican by birth and parentage. It's OK to say that some of crime is committed by the nationals of other countries. Geeez.

      • Anonymous says:

        It's so funny the mentality of my fellow Caymanians. Someone born in a foreign country, raised in Cayman and does something good (Cydonnie) THEY ARE CAYMANIAN….but someone born in a foreign country, raised in Cayman and does something bad then they are not Caymanian. Cydonnie better stay on the straight line cuz if she messes up she will be reminded she's Jamaican.

  3. Unison says:


    Who cares which nationality!  These guys are products of immoral societies, economic crisis, improper upbringing in homes and schools, and discontentment with life and all that it has to offer. These guys are victims really. Here, they made a decision to get rich quick like so many others do, but they got caught!  People may condemn them, but they are just a product of Caribbean societies….

    Just the other day, I saw a rainbow ring around the sun. The old fishermen use to say it means bad weather coming or coming calamity. These are the same fishermen that people in banks and high professions would laugh at because they consider them uneducated. But seeing how immoral our society has become over the years, seeing how we went through a hurricane Ivan and still many of us haven't learnt, it frightens me to even imagine a calamity. It sounds doomsday, but somehow history has recorded a sensitive link between immorality and calamities.

    What also frightens me is the apathy people have towards children and their upbringing.  How the young are being to taught to see money, possessions, and material things as their source of happiness. One time, we never had people, objects, and things at the forefront of our value system. Cayman use to be a God-fearing society, and it seems we have left our children to be taught by and through the internet, television, cellular phones, and electronic devices. It is no surprise we have the highest divorce rating in the Caribbean for our size, we have division in the country because of a party system, we have politicians all about their own self-interest, and obesity – children taught to do nothing at home but eat sweets and sit around behind a computer!  

    There is more to come other than these five, it we as the guardians of society, don't wake up from our slumber and lead by example.


  4. Anonymous says:

    What, no mention of the great work done by the police in catching these criminals!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Why does it matter of the nationality??  The bottom line is that they are CRIMINALS and they are going to jail for what they did!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Some of these so called thugs are Caymanian as well, not just Jamaican. Just to be clear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which ones are Caymanian (and I don't mean status, just to be clear)?

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean they are Jamaicans who have been given status, just to be clear?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, they are Caymanian…by virtue of being granted citizenship. Never the less, Caymanian at the end of the day;whether for better or worst.

      • Anonymous says:

        Granted citizenship or status? Big difference. A status holder is still a Jamaican national. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Since there is no such thing as Caymanian citizenship, I have to assume you have no idea what you are tailing about.

    • Anonymous says:

      caymaicans…jaymanians…..whats the difference?

  7. St Peter says:

    Excellent job Mr Baines and crew!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great that convictions have been made – but ummm where's the rest of the MONEY!? I've only heard of one being found with $30K+ on him so where's the other $470K?? They should be forced to come up with every red cent and if they can't — every single belonging ceased and sold until it can be accounted for. If not, whenever they come out, they will still reap the profits of that day!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Let me guess. The article does not prominently state that they are Caymanian and appears to be hiding their nationality. Do they hail from a certain neighbouring country by any chance? 

    • Anonymous says:

      At least 2 of them are Jamaican

    • Anonymous says:

      On the whole a Caymanian is a Jamaican who has lived here long enough to look down on Jamaicans.  Ah the narcissism of minor differences.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nationality and how you identify yourself are never minor differences. 

        Jamaicans, whether they have received status or not, never see themselves as anything other than Jamaican. Both Jamaicans and Caymanians are very clear on who is a Jamaican and who is a Caymanian. 


        • Anonymous says:

          Someone who does not understand the concept of "narcissism of minor differences".

  10. The lone haranguer says:

    Good work coppers, lets get rid of that Bains guy and put in a local so that when McKeeva gets back in he will have problem operating.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say let's keep Baines and the special team that must have been brought here to investigate these critters!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Great to see the conviction of these criminals , due in part to the dilligence of both the RCIPS & the Jamaican Constabulary.

  12. Anonymous says:

    brillant….these guys deserve life sentences for they tried to pull at the magnificent buckingham square…..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Crime don't pay.  Be honest and work hard for what you get.  You'll feel accomplished and proud of yourself.  Besides, no one likes thieves and robbers.  They are a scourge to society and cause pain and suffering to friends and family alike.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well done to all those involved in bringing them to justice.   Let's hope the sentences imposed send a clear message to any young men tempted to think about this sort of act in the future.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Justice has been served.   Let this be a lesson to all who would attempt to terrorize the citizens of these islands.  Caymanians are not afraid to convict violent offenders.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I hope they get life! The streets can do without these bandits on the streets!

  17. Anonymous says:

    OK. Who are these men? What are their nationalities? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Jamaican, but since official policy is to continue to state categorically that the vast majority of offences in the Cayman Islands are committed by Caymanians, and acknowledging that foreign nationals commit a substantial number raises issues if border security and government incompetence, you will not hear much of that fact.

      • Anonymous says:

        So how come Northward is full of Caymanians, 7:36? Are they just dumb and get caught and the Jamaicans are smart and don't?

        • Anonymous says:

          More experienced and hardened criminals and therefore less likely to be caught, you mean. That helps to explain why there is not more of them at Northward. Many prisoners identified as Caymanian at Northward are in fact status holders.

        • Anonymous says:

          Northward has a very significant number of Jamaicans in it, but just like the prison guard statistics, many are mis described as Caymanian when statistics are released.

    • SSM345 says:

      Facebook is a world of information, why don't you try searching their names……?

    • Diogenes says:

      Comments like this make my blood boil.  You so desperately want it to be about nationality or origin (because you know or believe the majority of them are not from here), not about the simple fact that here we have people outside society who think its acceptable to terrorise others to steal their money.  What difference does their nationality make? If they are Jamaican its somehow down to their nationality, and you can then say all crime is committed by foreigners – no problems here. right?  And if they are Caymanian, like the 90% plus in Northward?  What then?  Its ok? 


      What they did was terribly wrong and they should be punished for it, whether they are from Bodden Town, West Bay or Mars! And the punishment should be the same.    

      • Anonymous says:

        No, crapping in someone elses kitchen always worse than crapping in your own!

      • Anonymous says:

        Then you should calm down and think rationally before you have a stroke.

        I ask because, unlike some other articles I have read, the mention of nationality was conspicuously absent from this article. Obviously the nationality can tell us a lot of about of the source of criminal activity. For example, if these persons who entered and left the territory illegally. It is about dealing with potential sources of crime before they happen rather than simply punishing the criminals and pretending that this does not matter. You are obviously too dim to understand that. 

        And stop jumping to conclusions. It makes you look like an @ss.  

      • Anonymous says:

        The only way to get to the bottom of our crime problem is to determine sources of criminal activity, internal and external, and address them. Political correctness has no place in the discussion.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Finally a conviction, congrats to the police and prosecution. Now lets see what sentence is given and then let’s see when these guys appeal what thine they really server…