Bise killing may have been hate crime victim

| 08/05/2014

(CNS): A 40-year-old Swiss banker brutally murdered in February 2008 could have been the victim of a hate crime, the prosecution implied Wednesday as it opened its case against Chad Anglin, who is charged with killing Fredrick Bise. Simon Russell Flint, QC, said Anglin was the last person seen with Bise when they left a West Bay bar several hours before his body was found. Crown counsel told the jury that Bise may have been murdered because he was gay, because of sex or because of robbery or all three. The prosecutor told the jury that Bise died from multiple head, face and neck injuries and experts believe he could have been bludgeoned to death with a breeze block. But six years after the killing, they were unable to say where the father of two was actually killed.

Bise’s body, which was wrapped in a blanket, was found in the trunk of his own burned out car in front of the rented house where he was living at the time of his death in Mount Pleasant, West Bay. There was no evidence in the house or nearby that suggested the bloody and brutal killing could have happened there but jewellery and a laptop computer belonging to Bise were missing.

Having suffered head, face and neck fractures, Bise could have been strangled as well, medical experts said, though many of his injuries were as a result of a severe beating with a heavy blunt object and patterns in his wounds were consistent with a breeze block. There were no defensive wounds on Bise and the medical examiner was able to conclude that the Swiss national was already dead when he was placed in the car, which was set alight early in the morning of 8 February 2008.

Bise’s body was discovered by the fire crew called to put out the car fire, which was reported by a neighbour. Prosecutors said that no one knows where Bise was murdered but around the body in the boot of the car and in the blanket scenes of crime officers found several twigs, grass and other vegetation, suggesting Bise had been on the ground outside at an unknown location before he was placed in his own car, which was torched with the help of an accelerant.

Forensic and medical evidence also indicated that Bise had engaged in anal intercourse shortly before his death but experts were unable to get a DNA sample from the traces of semen found.

In a largely circumstantial case, Anglin is accused of killing Bise in a joint enterprise with another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons at this point but who will face trial later this year.

Anglin was seen by witnesses getting into the Swiss banker’s car in the early hours of 8 February and a DNA match to him was made from cigarette butts found in the patio area at Bise’s house and by the burned out car. Prosecutors say that Anglin had confessed his crime to a teenage runaway soon after the murder. He also gave several different accounts to the police about the night in question and the distinctive clothes he was seen wearing on the night of the killing were never found.

Anglin has, however, denied killing Bise. After telling a number of different stories to the police, he eventually admitted that he had visited Bise’s home briefly on the night of his killing so that Bise could get money to pay Anglin for ganja. Anglin told police that after getting the money from his own house Bise drove the two of them to Anglin’s home in Birch Tree Hill, where he bought the drugs and then he left. Anglin said all of this had happened before 10pm on the night before Bise’s body was found.

However, CCTV footage from Kelly’s Bar shows Anglin and Bise talking together near the jerk chicken stand at around 12:50am on the following morning, some five hours before Bise’s body was found.

Witnesses at the bar told police that Anglin had spoken about hating gays when he was asked why he was hanging “wid da batty boy” by others in the bar. Anglin had also expressed a clear dislike for homosexuals when the police first questioned him in the immediate wake of the discovery of Bise’s body.

During the course of evidence on Wednesday the jury hear that Bise had arrived in Cayman with his wife and two children in 2001 to work at an offshore bank. However, the couple’s marriage was breaking down because his wife suspected he had homosexual tendencies as a result of a change in his behaviour, which she said had become effeminate, and finding his profile on a gay website.

The couple divorced in 2005 and, with a shortage of property as a result of the post Hurricane Ivan rebuild, Bise rented two rooms at a house in Mount Pleasant owned by another Swiss female friend, who was resident in Cayman.

Testifying to the court Wednesday, the friend told the jury that she had begun to see a change in Bise in late 2007. The witness said that although he had been a fun loving individual, he had been a cautious person. But he began to behave carelessly and erratically, failing to secure the house properly when he went out and hanging with very different people. She said they had once been very good, close friends, spending a lot of time together but he began acting as though she didn’t exist and going out alone all of the time and being evasive.

She said she didn’t know for certain that he was gay as she had never asked and he had never said but she suspected he was. The witness had heard things from others and she told the court that she had seen him kiss another man and had become aware that the man had stayed the night in the house they both shared which had given her cause for concern for security reasons. Towards the end of 2007, the witness said, she had asked Bise to move out but because of her security concerns she went to stay with a friend until Bise had found a place of his own.

On the evening before Bise was killed he was staying alone at the house in Mount Pleasant and had met with French speaking friends in town. He went to several bars before he ended up at Kelly’s in West Bay, a place he frequented regularly, to buy food and have drinks.

The court heard that during the course of that night Bise had exchanged text messages with another man he sometimes engaged in casual sex with and arranged to meet him at hishome, but the man said Bise failed to show-up and he fell asleep, missing further texts and calls from Bise later that night. The man told police in a statement that the last voicemail message from Bise in the early hours of 8 February was silent except for the sound of wind which he found very strange.

The trial which is being heard before a jury and presiding Grand Court judge, Justice Alex Henderson, continues in Court One Thursday.

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