Jealousy WB murder motive

| 18/03/2014

(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 father of 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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