NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A crime scene officer testified yesterday that he was instructed to process only parts of the vehicle allegedly used in the 2013 Fox Hill mass shooting.
Detective Constable Neil Munroe told Supreme Court Justice Deborah Fraser that he was given information to go to a vacant lot on Bartlett Street where the vehicle was found around 7.15pm on December 27, 2013.
About an hour before, reports indicated that a crowd of people were gathered on the Fox Hill park awaiting Junkanoo results, when the occupants of a small dark vehicle opened fire “with a variety of weapons” in the area just behind the basketball court.
Four people were killed and seven others were injured.
Jermaine Curry, Peter Rolle and Justin Williams are on trial for those shooting deaths and attempted murders.
Munroe said when he arrived on Bartlett Street, he met other officers on the scene – none of them senior crime scene officers – along with a grey Honda Accord with the ignition switch damaged and the engine still running.
He said his duty was to “collect exhibits of the scene” and was given instructions on how to process it.
He told the court that he was not instructed to dust the vehicle for gun powder residue or fingerprints and he did not switch it off or move it.
The jury heard that he collected only five cartridge casings from the back seat of the vehicle – which he handed over for analysis the following day.
Munroe however could not indicate the findings of that request for analysis.
During cross examination, Williams’ attorney Geoffrey Farquharson asked Munroe whether it was the duty of the first officers on the scene to protect it and make sure that no one tampered with it.
Farquharson also put forth that it was Munroe’s duty to carefully process the vehicle and document the scene.
Munroe responded that it was his duty to “follow the instructions” of the investigators.
The veteran attorney pointed to crime scene photos of the vehicle, showing evidence markers of additional cartridge casings found in the back seat and front seat of the car, and asked whether the officer knew how they were discovered.
Munroe said he could only speculate that they were discovered after he processed the vehicle initially, as he did not recover the casings, nor was he present when they were discovered.
But Farquharson contended that it was his duty to see everything and if he did not see the other casings, that could be considered gross negligence and he should be fired.
Munroe maintained that he was given strict instructions not to tamper too much with the scene, therefore he only processed the back seat and did not search the front.
Farquharson told the witness that he is in “no position” to say that those items were not placed in the vehicle to “throw off” the investigation.
“There were all kind of shell casings in this car after you the five to be examined by the forensic lab, and you have no idea where they came from,” the veteran attorney put forth.
Munroe simply noted he could not speak to that.
Shock and Fear
The jury yesterday also heard testimony from Jason Davis, who said he was on the park with his girlfriend Shenique Sands when she was shot.
Davis said his girlfriend, along with members of his family and other members of the Fox Hill community were gathered on the park that tragic night.
He said he was standing near the bleachers facing Reeves Street when he saw a dark grey colored car driving east to west drive past the entrance of the park and a dark-skinned man came out of the window and began shooting.
He said he then took his eyes off of the vehicle because he saw when Sands was hit and fell from where she was sitting on the wall across from him.
Davis said he ran to her and by the tum eh reached her, he could still hear shots being fired.
“I was in shock, fear,” he said.
“I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to protect her.”
Sands was among the four people killed in the tragic incident.
Davis said after the tragic incident it took him a few days to get his “bearings” between the time he gave his initial statement and when he identified the vehicle believed to be used in the shooting.
He said on January 3, he was called into the Central Detective Unit (CDU), taken to the back parking and asked to indicate whether the Honda Accord vehicle was the one he believed he saw.
Rolle’s attorney, Sonia Timothy asked Davis why he had told police in his first statement that the vehicle he saw could have been champagne colored.
Davis noted that he did tell police that that could have been a possibility, but was now sure that it was dark gray.
He confirmed that along with a summons to show up to court, he was also provided with his statements from that day and had a chance to review it.
Timothy asked Davis whether knew Peter Rolle was the father of one of his Sand’s three children.
He denied knowing Rolle and insisted that he never asked her who the fathers of her children were during the course of their relationship.
After questioning the witness about how he identified the vehicle, Farquharson put forth that in the circumstances of the shooting, Davis was so discombobulated by everything that he did not have a clear recollection of what happened.
Davis, however insisted that he “will never forget”.
Curry, Rolle and Williams have been charged with murdering Claudezino Davis, Shaquille Demeritte, Eric Morrison and Shenique Sands and the attempted murder of Chino Davis, Janet Davis, John Davis, Benjamin Demeritte, Samuel Ferguson, Jermaine Pratt and Leroy Taylor.
Curry is being represented by attorney Murrio Ducille.
The trial continues today.