Gun connects gang killings

| 02/04/2014

(CNS): A list of admitted evidence presented to the court in the trial of Raziel Jeffers has revealed that the gun used to kill Damion Ming in West Bay in March 2010 had previously been used to kill 24-year-old Fabian Reid in Newlands in October 2009. With a considerable number of facts agreed by both the defence and the crown in the murder case, some 40 admissions were made to the jury relating to the case that were not in dispute. The list includes background on Ming, his criminal record and his gang associations. The court heard that Reid, whose killers have never been apprehended, was associated with the Birch Tree Hill gang.

Reid,whose murder is still unsolved, was gunned down by as many as three armed men in a killing in which police believe several weapons were fired. One of those guns was the same weapon used to kill Ming, as seven of the shell casings found at that murder scene match the eight casings found at the scene where Ming was killed some five months later.

Reid was a victim of the gang related killings just one month after Carlos Webster, a member of the opposing West Bay gang, the Logwoods, was shot and killed in the Next Level nightclub on West Bay Road. Devon Anglin, who is also associated with the Birch Tree Hill gang, was later convicted of that killing.

The admissions also note further gang related killings and connections surrounding the Ming case. The day before Ming was gunned down as he worked on a boat in a yard in Birch Tree Hill, Alrick Peddie (a.k.a. "Bling") was shot dead at a yard in Willie Farrington Drive in West Bay. Peddie, who worked as a security guard at Next Level, was found to have let Anglin into the club with a firearm on the night Webster was killed inside the club. Aaron Crawford, Roger Bush and Jose Sanchez, all associated with the Logwoods gang, and Ming, were tried and acquitted of his murder.

Just days before Peddie was killed, according to evidence from the crown’s key witness, which she gave to the police, Ming had sent a text to Peddie stating that there was “only room for one Bling in Cayman”.

The court heard that Ming was also a known associate of Sheldon Brown, a man currently serving 22 years for the attempted murder of Fernando Martin in 2003 – a man who was at the time a witness in another murder case relating to the death of Joe Williams in West Bay that same year. Martin was shot multiple times while supposedly under witness protection but having survived the shooting he gave evidence against Brown.

Although Brown has since turned to writing thrillers and has denounced his previous gang associations, he was associated with the gang violence and a friend of Ming’s. However, according to the admissions, police received information regarding threats by Sheldon Brown to the safety of Damion Ming and his family while he was in prison in 2007.

At the time of his death Damion Ming had several convictions, including importation and possession of cocaine and accessory and conspiracy to commit robbery regarding two armed heists in West Bay at Fosters and Cayman National Bank (CNB). Ming had provided information to the police against his co-defendants, Bjorn Ebanks, Royce Cornwall and Damian Seymour in respect of armed robberies of CNB and Fosters in West Bay in 2006.

The defence seized on Ming’s gang associations, his connections to the Peddie murder and the fact that he had given information to the police about his criminal friends that he was a marked man. During his closing speech to the jury, Malcolm Wolkind, QC, on behalf of Jeffers, pointed out that many people in the Cayman Islands may have had reason to want Ming dead but his client was not one of them.

The final irony for Ming was that he was gunned down on the eve of his return to prison. At the time he was shot and killed he had been on bail in connection with a drugs charge which had gone to the Privy Council. However, that appeal was denied and Ming had learned that fact the day he was shot, and he would have been required to answer his bail the following day and return to Northward to continue serving his sentence.

As a result of his imminent incarceration, one of the crown’s witnesses who gave evidence early in the case had revealed that he was working with Ming on the boat when he was shot. Earl Ebanks had admitted that Ming was paying him with cocaine to help repair the boat and they were working at night as Ming was planning to use it to make his escape from Cayman and avoid not only a return to jail but those who may have wished him ill.

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