Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Two J’cans among three facing death penalty in US murder trial

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 12:36 AM
Omar Miller, former Jamaican policeman.
Omar Miller, former Jamaican policeman.
Devon Quinland
Devon Quinland
Andre Andrews
Andre Andrews

A former policeman-turned-music producer, who was freed of a 2007 murder in Jamaica, is headed to a pre-trial in the United States next week, again for murder, and prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty.

Omar Miller, 45, is one of three co-defendants who will have a pre-trial and arraignment next Friday.

The jury trial in the matter will commence on October 6 in the Orange County Superior Courts.

Miller is charged alongside two men, Devon Quinland, 37, and fellow Jamaican Andre Andrews, 38.

Andrews is a past student-athlete of Jamaica College.

Both Miller and Andrews are charged with nine similar counts that include murder, robbery, burglary, and firearm-related offenses.

They have been remanded.

Quinland, who is out on bail, is charged with conspiracy after it was alleged that he was the driver and planner.

Andrews and Miller, who were caught on video entering the home with handguns, were arrested in Florida nearly two months after the killing.

The murder victim was a promising 20-year-old entrepreneur, Raymond Alcala.

Investigators say that up to the time, it was the first murder recorded in Irvine.

Under California state law, murder is punishable up to the death penalty.

Miller, who dabbled in music production, rose to prominence producing music for incarcerated dancehall star Vybz Kartel and his then Portmore Empire outfit.

This, however, is not Miller’s first brush with the law as he was found not guilty of murder in 2011 while serving as a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Miller was one of four policemen who walked free following the murder trial of 18-year-old Grants Pen resident André ‘Kunte’ Thomas after they were acquitted by a 12-member jury. They were represented by King’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Valerie Neita-Robertson, Peter Champagnie, and attorneys-at-law Linton Walters and Tamika Harris.

In unsworn statements from the dock, Detective Corporal Noel Bryan, also called ‘Matterhorn’, Corporal Philip Dunstan, and Constables Clayton Fearon and Omar Miller said they acted in self-defence when Thomas pointed a gun at them.

A gun was tendered into evidence as the one taken from Thomas.

The Crown, represented by attorney-at-law Kathy Pyke, had alleged at the trial in the Home Circuit Court that Thomas was killed in cold blood at the Cruiser Gully Bank off Grants Pen Road, St Andrew, on September 28, 2007.

Two of the prosecution witnesses changed their statements and said they had not witness the shooting.

However, the Crown was relying on the evidence of then government senator Aundré Franklin, who said Thomas had his hands in the air when he was shot.