Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Witness testifies about fifth murder, stolen cars

Published:Saturday | September 25, 2021 | 12:14 AMTanesha Mundle - Staff Reporter

The prosecution’s star witness on Friday elaborated on two more murders which he claimed have been ordered by the reputed leader of the One Don Gang, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan.

The self-confessed member of the gang, who has appeared very relaxed since beginning his spellbinding evidence on Wednesday in the Clansman-One Dong Gang trial in the Home Circuit Court via video link, has now detailed five murders, which he has admitted to participating in with the gang.

The two murders, the court heard, involved the shooting deaths of an unidentified vendor in front of the [now defunct] Super Plus Supermarket in Spanish Town and another unidentified man at the Spanish Town bus park, both in St Catherine on separate dates in 2017.

According to the witness, who admitted to being the gang’s driver and banker, among other things, in both cases, said he had transported the alleged shooters to and from the locations of the gun attack.

In the case of the vendor, the witness testified that Bryan had contacted him via phone about midday or after 1 p.m on the day, and instructed him to pick up three alleged members of the gang – ‘Kartel’, ‘Lloyd Bank’ and ‘Satan’.

“Dem ago mash up a youth a di supermarket,” he said Bryan had told him.

“He also told me to tell Raetae to drive out a white Nissan car,” he said while explaining that Raetae, whom he identified in court as defendant Andre Golding, was responsible for keeping the stolen cars.

Used to commit crimes

When questioned by the prosecutor about those stolen cars, the witness explained that the gang had bought two stolen cars – a Nissan Tiida and a Nissan Ad Wagon – from a man in Lauriston, St Catherine, and those cars were primarily used to commit crimes.

He further told the court that Bryan had instructed him to purchase those two cars and that he had bought them for a total of $100,000.

In continuing his testimony about the vendor’s murder, the witness said that he then went for the men who included Kartel, whom he also identified in court as defendant Andre Smith, and proceeded to Rivoli in St Catherine to meet up with Raetae.

When he arrived there, he said he saw two strange men with Raetae, who handed him two “mattic”.

After collecting the guns, the witness told the court that he left only with Lloyd Banks and went ahead to scout out the area to ensure that no police were there and then called and told the men that the area was “safe”.

When he reached the supermarket, he said that the intended target was seen and Lloyd Bank relayed that to the others.

The witness said he then saw when “Satan and Kartel walked towards him and Satan shoot him multiple times and him fall to the ground”.

Following, the alleged deadly attack, he said he drove the men to their respective homes.

In the other attack, he said he was present when Bryan instructed a now-deceased member of the gang, ‘Mackerel’, to carry out that hit while he, the witness, was told to bring Mackerel to March Pen in St Catherine to pick up a “youth”, who would also be involved in the shooting.

After picking up the men, the witness testified that he then drove to the shopping centre in Spanish Town, where he dropped them off and went to park in a Life of Jamaica parking lot.

While there, he said, “I heard the gunshots start firing.”

Shortly after, he said Mackerel called and told them that the man had been killed and he drove out and picked them out.

While the witness was able to provide details about the targets, he was unable to shed any light on why Bryan had allegedly ordered them killed.

“Did Bryan give a reason why the youth must be mashed up?” the prosecutor asked in relation to the vendor’s death.

The witness, in quick reply, said: “We don’t normally get a reason.”

At the end of sharing his recollection of those two alleged murders with the court, the former gang member further testified that he was also aware of another order for the execution of a top lieutenant in the Tesha Miller-led Clansman faction of the gang.

“I went to look for a gentleman by the name of Ice in Linstead. Don’t know much about him, but he was one of Blackman’s rivals,” the witness testified while adding, “He was a top man in Tesha Miller’s army.”

The court, however, did not get to hear whether that man was also allegedly killed by the gang, as the trial had reached the time for the Friday’s evening adjournment.

However, before the day’s proceedings ended, the witness explained that the lone female defendant in the trial, Stephanie Christie, was involved in that plan as she and another alleged gang member, ‘Crocs’, had visited him at his home to see Blackman before that incident.

When asked about his dealings with the woman, he told the court that she had visited his home about 30 times to see Blackman and to chill and had even slept over one night.

Christie was observed shaking her head before holding on to her forehead as the witness spoke about her.

Her behaviour, however, is somewhat of stark contrast to some of the other members of the alleged gang.

One member was observed twisting and unravelling his hair and at times jigging and playing an imaginary piano as the witness shared their alleged savage lifestyle. Another was seen making himself at home as he stretched out both of his long legs on the bench before him in the prisoner’s dock while smiling and chatting with those around him.

A serious-looking Blackman, on the other hand, was observed listening attentively, for the most part, and could be seen looking on with heightened interest whenever the witness began his account of a new alleged murder.

In some instances, he was seen talking with some of his co-defendants.

The 33 defendants are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

The charges include being part of a criminal organisation, illegal possession of firearm, facilitating conspiracy to murder, facilitating murder, and facilitating arson.

The defendants are accused of being part of the St Catherine-based One Don Gang, which is believed to have carried out murders, conspiracies to commit murder, extortion, and arson throughout the parish between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019.

The One Don Gang is a splinter group of the notorious Clansman Gang. The new faction was reportedly formed during an internal power struggle between the reputed leader of Clansman, Tesha Miller, and Bryan, who allegedly was a top lieutenant of Miller.

Control of a lucrative extortion racket, which reportedly rakes in $1.5 million daily, was said by the police to have been at the heart of the conflict.

Miller is serving a nearly 39-year prison sentence following his conviction last January on charges of accessory before and after the fact of murder in relation to the 2008 killing of Douglas Chambers, then chairman of the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company.

The trial will resume on Monday before Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.