Witness saw gunmen coming

| 24/07/2014

(CNS): Testifying via video link from another jurisdiction in the trial of Brian Borden and David Tomasa for the murder of Robert Macford Bush, Mayra Ebanks, who was in the car when her boyfriend was shot dead, said she knew Borden well. The crown's witness said she had met him at high school in 2004 or 2005 and they had had an “occasional relationship’ but it did not last long and had ended amicably. She told the court how on the night of the killing she had seen the two masked gunmen before they shot her boyfriend and had urged her lover to drive away, yelling, "Drive! Drive! Drive!" but in his confusion he lost control of the car and drove into the wall, leaving him a sitting target for his assailants, who fired into the car before running away.

Taking the witness stand on Monday and Wednesday this week, Ebanks told the court that she heard Bush coming to pick her up before she saw him arrive at the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Road and Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay a few minutes before his murder, as he was in the habit of playing music very loudly in his car.

He “barely turned into” Capts Joe and Osbert Rd, she said, and she walked around the back of his blue Honda Civic to get in. As she passed the back door she saw two people across the street, almost in front of her friend Tishara Webster’s driveway, walking towards them. It looked as if one of them had a machete in his hand, Ebanks recalled.

When Ebanks got to her door, she told the court, she looked over the roof of the car and saw that the two men were crossing the entrance of the church yard and at that point they started running. Now, she said, she could see that it was not a machete but a shotgun. The two men had shirts tied around their faces, and she said she could not see who they were but one was wearing red, long sleeved shirt and camouflage pants and the other was wearing a camouflage jacket.

Ebanks said she got into the car as fast as she could and started yelling to Bush that he should “Drive! Drive! Drive!” But Bush’s reaction was slow because he was cleaning a CD while he changed the music. “He looked at me like, what’s happening?” she said, and turned around to look for himself. Then he started to drive away but lost control of the car and drove into a wall. He tried to drive off but could not move, Ebanks said. “That’s when I heard the shot.”

The shooters stood by the driver’s side of the car and from where she was she could not see their heads. After shooting Bush, they ran off across the road.

Under cross-examination by Borden’s defence lawyer, Trevor Burke, QC, Ebanks refuted the suggestion that Jordan Manderson and David Ebanks, who were in the area of the murder, had been wearing clothes very similar to what she had described the killers as wearing (which would suggest that they could in fact be the shooters) as she said there were significant differences in their apparel.

A few minutes before the murder Mayra Ebanks had had a BBM exchange with the two of them on David Ebanks’ Blackberry, telling them that she was on her way to meet Robert Bush (a key part of the crown’s case against Borden). The two of them had passed her while she was on the phone to Bush, waiting for him, and had gone into Watler’s yard, and the defence noted that after the murder, when people had come to see what had happened, they were not there.

Burke asked Mayra Ebanks about the day before the murder, when Bush had picked her up from the same spot but had then driven into Watler’s yard to pick up some Rizlas, and had returned to get some Bacardi.

While there he had spoken to Manderson, the man who had previously told Ebanks that although some of the Birch Tree Hill gang wanted to hurt him, he told her that “as long as he was around that wouldn’t happen because they have to come to me for their things.” Ebanks said she had tried to record this conversation to let Robert hear, because she was worried, but said the conversation between the two men had seemed freindly.

Burke suggested that it might have appeared disrespectful for Bush, a member of the Logwood group, to come to a gathering in Birch Tree Hill. The defence also suggested that Manderson wanted to have a relationship with Ebanks, but she said that although he had come onto her a few times, she had told him that he was too young for her.

Ebanks was also asked about three photos that had been taken in late 2010 with her camera in which Brian Borden inspects a handgun and in one photo points it at the camera. She was adamant that they had been taken at her cousin’s house, even when the defence suggested that they had been taken at her home in Cinder Lane and that she had, in fact, given the gun to Borden to look at.

In the days following the murder, Mayra Ebanks admitted that she had told various people that she thought one of the killers was Andrew Baptise, who was himself shot to death shortly afterwards. 

Burke noted that an earlier boyfriend of Ebanks, Mark Jefferson, had been shot to death while she was seeing him. Carlos Webster had been shot to death while she was living with him. And now Robert Bush had been shot and killed while he was seeing her.

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