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Jamaican police say conviction guaranteed after 25-y-o man charged for deaths of US missionaries

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson

Jamaican police say a conviction should be expected based on the evidence they have turned over to prosecutors, who will seek to get locked away Andre Thomas, 25, the man charged with the murders of two United States missionaries in the north-eastern parish of St Mary in April.

Ealan Powell, assistant commissioner of police of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, yesterday announced that Thomas, also called 'Baugh', had been charged with murder as well as illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. A second suspect, 25-year-old Dwight Henry, also called 'Dougie' and 'Chino', is being hunted in a case that has drawn further international attention to Jamaica and its notorious crime problem.

Forty-eight-year-old Randy Hentzel of Mango Valley in the parish and 53-year-old Harold Nichols of Boscobel were found dead hours apart in Wentworth district in the Albion Mountain region between April 30 and May 1.

They were killed while on their way to visit a house they were building, and according to the police, they were last seen alive when they left Tower Isle, St Mary, on motorcycles.

Powell said robbery was the motive behind the killing of the men who, for 14 years, built houses and provided medical services to vulnerable Jamaicans.

"That matter was very difficult to resolve - extremely difficult because there was a paucity of information - but the team worked assiduously to have the matter resolved."

Investigators from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation helped in the initial stages of the probe.

Deputy Superintendent of Police and Crime Officer for St Mary Bertland Reynolds declined to give details as to how Thomas was arrested, but he noted that "persistence, checking, and double-checking" of information helped significantly.


Satisfied with work


Detective Sergeant Glandale Murdock, the lead investigator in the case, told The Gleaner that the team was satisfied with its work and that it was now up to the prosecutors to deal with the case they believe should end in a conviction.

"We did not want to just make an arrest. We wanted to ensure that when we made an arrest, the arrest would stick. It's going to be a matter for the prosecutor to decide on. We, as the police, our duty is to bring the evidence to the court, and I'm satisfied," he said when asked to respond to the quality of the evidence.

Regarding Henry, who is being sought, Powell warned that he must turn himself over to the police by six o'clock this evening.

Thomas is from Albion Mountain, while Henry is from Port Maria. A court date has not been set for Thomas' first appearance.

Nichols and Hentzel were part of the US-based TEAMS for Medical Missions and had been in Jamaica since 2002.