Soldier among Blackman’s bodyguards, star witness claims
A soldier was reportedly among the alleged members of the One Don Gang who served as armed bodyguards for reputed leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, a former crony revealed during his testimony in the Home Circuit Court on Thursday.
The ex-member and prosecution’s star witness appeared to have forgotten all about the alleged bodyguard, known only to him as ‘Jermaine’, but quickly picked him up while he was doing a dock identification of another alleged member of the gang using the video link technology via which he is also testifying.
“Show me back that man in a long-sleeved white shirt,” he hastily asked after he was shown a visual of the defendants in Courtroom No. 2.
The witness, who had been detailing the roles and ranks of some of the alleged members, indicated that he had forgotten to tell the court about Jermaine.
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes then intervened and asked him how he had known that defendant.
“Jermaine is a soldier. He used to be by my house protecting Blackman with a gun,” the witness answered, explaining that it was the defendant who had told him [the witness] that he was a soldier.
According to the witness, who was on the penultimate day of his six-day-long evidence-in-chief, he had seen Jermaine at his house about two times when Blackman was there.
When asked by the prosecutor what Blackman was doing at his house on the day that he had seen Jermaine with the gun, the witness said, “He was there chilling and hiding from the police.”
The self-confessed gangster, who claimed his main role was a driver and banker for the criminal organisation, also identified another defendant, Dylon McLean, as Blackman’s bodyguard. He recalled that he had observed McLean always seen standing close to the reputed leader with a gun in his pants waist.
The witness had previously identified defendant Tareek James as another bodyguard whom he claimed he had also seen always standing close by the alleged gang leader with a gun. James, he said, had also lived with Blackman for a while.
Earlier in his testimony, the witness gave the court a breakdown of the different roles in the gang.
He testified that these include dons, foot soldiers, lieutenants, and killers.
The ex-gangster said a number of the alleged members were dons in their respective communities in Spanish Town and that they were responsible for residents there.
“They decide who to dead and who to live in those communities,” he told the court, while listing Top Banks, Lauriston, Rivoli, Waterloo Lane as neighbourhoods that were under a don’s control.
The foot soldiers, he said, were tasked with carrying out the murders and shootings, among other duties.
“Whatever Blackman tell dem to do, they have to do it. But those who killed more people had more respect,” the witness testified.
The court also heard that the gang also had top-tier members, who were “above the gangsters”.
The lone female defendant, Stephanie Christie, was described as a top-tier member as well as Blackman’s brother, Kevaugn Green.
The witness said Green would carry out Blackman’s order, which included getting guns and bullets ready.
Christie, however, was the gang’s messenger who would deliver messages that Blackman did not want to deliver via phone, the witness said. She was also responsible for paying lawyer fees for gang members and communicating with the police when there is a problem.
Defendant Fabian Johnson, who was identified by his alias ‘Crocs’, was also named among top-tier members as well as ‘Andrew Phang’, ‘Sickhead’, ‘Cubby’, and ‘Hoggist’.
‘Mackerel’, ‘Frazzle’, and ‘Taurus’ were listed as top-tier members who are now dead.
In the meantime, the trial was adjourned early Thursday by the chief justice, who had previously informed the court that he had other judicial matters and a prior arrangement to which he needed to attend.
The trial will resume on Monday
Bryan and 32 other alleged gang members are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act.
The One Don Gang is a breakaway faction of the Clansman, reportedly led by incarcerated accessory-to-murder convict, Tesha Miller.