Murdering witness won’t kill case, judge warns as Beachy refused bail
Justice Vinette Graham Allen warned on Wednesday that the murder of a witness will not stop a criminal case from being tried.
The judge gave the caution in the Home Circuit Court as she refused the bail application for Portland businessman Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald.
However, Justice Graham Allen, before announcing her decision, highlighted that besides the allegations that the accused had paid men to murder both his wives, his nephew – a Crown witness in whom he had reportedly confided about paying to kill his first wife – was also killed.
“There are authorities in this jurisdiction that deal with when a Crown witness dies, so killing a witness does not prevent a case from going on in Jamaica,” she said.
The 67-year-old accused is facing two counts of murder in relation to his first wife, Merlene, who was killed in May 2009, and Tonia, his second wife, who was murdered last July.
Oscar Barnes is charged along with McDonald in Tonia’s murder.
Her partially burnt body was found with the throat slashed beside her torched car along the Sherwood Forest main road in Portland.
Another man, Denvalyn Minott, said to be the contract killer, was also arrested and charged but pleaded guilty in the Home Circuit Court last September and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
The contract killer, in a witness statement, claimed that he was offered $3 million by McDonald to end his wife’s life.
But Minott revealed in the statement that he had hired another man, Barnes, to carry out the crime and that he watched as the man repeatedly stabbed the 32-year-old businesswoman.
In the first matter, a cold case, Merlene was shot in the head and chest outside her home in Boundbrook, Portland,.
It is alleged that Beachy Stout had paid a police detective to kill her after their marriage crumbled and she left the matrimonial home.
Justice Graham Allen, in outlining the reasons for declining McDonald’s application, pointed to the nature and seriousness of the offence and also that he had a propensity for violence.
The judge said that McDonald had been charged in Portland for cutting off a man’s fingers but that the matter had been settled.
The justice also indicated that the accused did not have a good character, noting the seriousness of the allegations.
“He knows people who he hires to kill,” said Justice Graham Allen.
“So you have a dead witness, you have two dead wives, and the prosecution says the concern it has if this accused is admitted to bail is that he will interfere with the witnesses. Well, this court is satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that if the accused, Everton McDonald, is released on bail he will fail to surrender to custody because he’s now realising what is facing him.”
McDonald, who appeared in court via Zoom, was remanded until September 23.
Barnes, whose address is still to be verified, has not yet been released on bail and will return to court on July 20.