NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The trial of three men accused of killing four people and wounding seven others during a 2013 mass drive-by shooting at Freedom Park, Fox Hill, began yesterday.
Jermaine Curry, Peter Rolle and Justin Williams appeared before Supreme Court Justice Deborah Fraser.
The trio have been charged with four counts of murder for the shooting death of Claudezino Davis, Shaquille Demeritte, Eric Morrison and Shenique Sands on December 27, 2013.
The trio has also been charged for the attempted murder against Chino Davis, Janet Davis, John Davis, Benjamin Demeritte, Samuel Ferguson, Jermaine Pratt and Leroy Taylor, on the same day.
According to reports, a crowd of people were gathered on the 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 shortly before 6pm.
Curry is being represented by attorney Murrio Ducille, Rolle is represented by Sonia Timothy, and Williams is represented by Geoffrey Farquharson.
In its opening statement, the prosecution, lead by Roger Thompson and Zoey Gibson, warned the jury not to let “anyone or anything influence you.”
Gibson told the court that the prosecution will prove its case through the evidence presented in the witness block.
The court is expected to hear testimonies from witnesses on the park during the time of the incident, officers who dealt with the case, family members of the diseased, and one of the four people who were in the vehicle with the accused.
The prosecution called its first witness, Corporal Navar Neely, a crime scene investigator.
Neely told the court that on 9:30 a.m. on December 28, he was instructed by his superior to process a four-door Honda in the parking lot of the Central Detective Unit.
The right-hand drive vehicle was registered to Maxwell and Eric Culmer Curry, Neely said.
He noted that upon checking the vehicle he discovered that the ignition appeared to be damaged; part of the ignition was in the driver’s door; there was screwdriver in the back seat area; there were several sunglasses in different areas of the vehicle; and there were a number of fired cartridge casings of different calibers observed in different areas of the vehicle.
He said he also found bullet fragments in the interior of the car.
Neely said the items were collected, packaged and labeled.
He testified that he also processed the vehicle for latent fingerprints.
Neely told the court he discovered 17 latent impressions found on various aspects of the vehicle, which were photographed, lifted and handed over for analysis.
He said the cartridge casings discovered, among of which were 9 mm and .223 casings, were also handed over to be examined for ballistics.
Jury members heard that photographs of the vehicle were taken, downloaded onto a compact disk and bound into albums – each one labeled and signed by Neely, along with the disk.
Ducille and Farquharson objected at length over the witness’ explanation of how the photos were transferred to the disk from the camera via USB or SD card.
However, Justice Fraser allowed both the photo albums and disk into exhibit.
During cross examination, Ducille asked Neely whether he found any unfired bullets in the vehicle and whether he took any latent prints of the cases discovered.
The corporal advised that he did not recall finding any unfired cartridges, adding that he did not fingerprint those he did recover.
Neely told the court that this could not be done because it would have possibly interfered with the integrity of the ballistics.
When asked by Ducille which parts of the vehicles the fingerprints were found, Neely listed the rear right glass, front right glass, left fender, interior handles of the vehicle, rearview mirror, visor mirror and one of the sunglasses recovered.
Neely later noted that while he took prints from the exterior handles of the car, no fingerprints were found.
Ducille also asked the witness whether any of the fingerprints belonged to Jermaine Curry.
However, Neely noted that he was unable to answer this question because he only serves as a “fingerprint custodian”, who passes the prints on to be examined.
When questioned by Farquharson, Neely was presented with several scenarios under which the vehicle could have been “tampered with” and asked whether they made “probative sense with the evidence presented”.
Farquharson suggested that the ignition of the vehicle and ignition part found in the driver’s door were not from the same vehicle (the latter being a push to start key) and furthered that the vehicle was “tampered by someone who wanted to make it look like someone stole the car”.
Neely however was unable to follow the line of questioning by the veteran attorney.
After several attempts to rephrase the question, Farquharson pointed to the term “garbage in, garbage out”, and added “If you do a sloppy investigation, you are going to come out will worthless evidence.”
Neely’s cross examination continues today at 12pm.