WB shooting trial begins

| 18/07/2014

(CNS): The trial of Brian Emmanuel Borden (29) and David Joseph Tamasa, who have both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Robert Macford Bush in West Bay on Tuesday 13 September 2011, began Thursday in a judge-alone trial before Justice Alex Henderson. The crown contends that one of the two shooters was Borden and the men were firing ammunition supplied by Tamasa. The prosecution says that both the defendants later boasted of their part in the killing of Bush to a friend, who will be a key witness in the trial.

On the night of his death, 28-year-old Robert Macford Bushwas picking up his girlfriend, Mayra Ebanks, at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Rd and Birch Tree Hill Rd in West Bay, as he was in the habit of doing, when two gunmen approached the car from behind and began shooting. Bush started to drive away but lost control of the car, which crashed into a wall, trapping him inside as the gunmen, one armed with a shotgun and the other a 9mm handgun, approached the driver’s side of the car and shot him twice in the head at close range, injuring Mayra Ebanks with shotgun spray as she sat in the passenger seat. The pathologist concluded that both shots would have been fatal.

In his opening statement, Andrew Radcliffe, QC, the lead prosecutor, said that Borden was one of the shooters and the other was Keith Montaque and they had been given a heads-up that Bush was on his way.

A series of messages between Mayra and a phone belonging to David Ebanks, which the crown believes was being used by Jordan Manderson and was telling him that Bush was coming, ended at 11:08pm that night. At 11:14pm the David Ebanks phone sent a Blackberry messages to Brian Borden, who was in the vicinity of the murder according to cell site evidence, and not, as he had claimed to police in a statement before he was a murder suspect, at home at the time. The 911 call after the shooting made on Mayra’s phone by Tishara Webster, who had arrived on the scene and taken the phone from Myra, who was screaming and hysterical, was made at 11:20pm.

Radcliffe explained to the court that the content of Blackberry messages is stored on the devise itself and nowhere else. He said that at 11:25pm, just a few minutes after the killing of Bush, the David Ebanks phone removed Borden as a contact, thus deleting forever the content of all messages between those phones – though not the fact that they were made. However, while the Ebanks phone initiated the removal of the contact between them, it took until 11:52pm (27 minutes) to achieve this.

The prosecutor said the only possible explanation for this was that Borden’s phone was switched off between those times and suggested that Borden knew enough to understand that this action would delete all the messages – perhaps by watching television – but did not understand that both phones had to be turned on to complete this action. Radcliffe invited the conclusion that the timing of this indicates that it was done in order to hide their criminal involvement.

The prosecutor said that an off duty police officer who was on the scene very quickly recognised Bush and saw that at that time he was still alive. USG officers arrived within five minutes of the 911 call and cordoned off the scene. When the paramedics arrived within 15 minutes of the 911 call, they tried to save Bush but could not find a pulse. 

Radcliffe said that later, in mid-2012, while Borden and Tamasa were being given a ride by their friend, Marlon Dillon, Borden bragged about killing Bush as they passed the murder spot. After they dropped Borden off, the conversation continued and Tamasa boasted to Dillon about his role, which was supplying the ammunition. The prosecutor said that when Dillon told police about this he could not possibly have known that the cell site evidence would support it.

Tomasa has denied to police that he was friends with Dillon and claimed he only knew Borden slightly. Both the defendants, Radcliffe said, have also denied that this car trip ever took place.

Bush had been warned by Tracy Watler that Borden wanted to kill him, Radcliffe told the court. After he was released from Northward prison in October 2010 and repeatedly up to August 2011, he had asked Watler to set up circumstances so that he could do this but she had refused. Radcliffe suggested that this hatred stemmed from the fact that they were from rival gangs but jealousy may also have been a motive, since Borden had previously had a sexual relationship with Mayra Ebanks, something he had denied in a police statementin September 2011.

The crown believes that Jordan Manderson not only tipped off the shooters, Borden and Montaque, but may have also supplied the weapons. Manderson, the crown said, had previously told Mayra Ebanks that anyone wanting to kill Bush would have to contact him to “get the things”, which she took to mean guns. On the day Bush died, the crown said, Manderson had been at her home and had received a cell phone call and she was close enough to him to recognise the voice as being Borden’s. She could hear that he was telling Manderson that he was coming “for the things”, Radcliffe said.

The trial continues in Grand Court this morning.

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