Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Another murder case collapses

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

Prosecutors in the aborted murder trial of a man accused of orchestrating the execution-style killing of two women from his prison cell have sought to explain that the evidence against him was tenuous.

Michael McLean, along with Melville McIntosh, Brenda Shaw and Saskia Sammond, was set to go on trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday for two counts of murder. They were charged in connection with the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Mishca Fisher and Avian Marsden off Whitehall Avenue, St Andrew, in October 2010.

But the four pleaded not guilty after the allegations were read to them and were acquitted of all charges after lead prosecutor Karen Seymour-Johnson announced that she was offering no evidence against them.

Seymour-Johnson indicated that two of the accused persons were present when Fisher and Marsden were killed, but said the absence of an independent eyewitness would force her to rely on a "myriad of circumstantial evidence".

And the problem with that, she admitted, was that "there is no circumstantial evidence pointing in one direction and one direction only."

Fisher and Marsden were taken to Pennant Terrace, off Whitehall Avenue, in a chartered taxi where they were shot execution style.

The prosecutor revealed that the police, who were quick on the scene, apprehended McIntosh and Shaw as they pushed the disabled taxi. She said McIntosh gave a statement to the police, indicating that he was hired by Shaw and that two men, whom he knew by their aliases, were the shooters.

"One a dem shoot the woman then kick her out the car," the prosecutor quoted McIntosh as saying after being cautioned by the police.

 

WHOLLY EXCULPATORY

 

She said Shaw and McIntosh both gave statements that were "wholly exculpatory", which would not help her case.

Seymour-Johnson also acknowledged that in her possession was a statement from a correctional officer indicating that a search of McLean's cell at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre (where he is being held) four days after the murder turned up a cell phone among other contraband.

However, she said an examination of the phone, as well as other mobile phones taken from his co-accused by the police cybercrimes unit, "could go no further than to establish that they were used to make calls".

"We were not able to take that any further in terms of who called who, and what was said. The body of the information available to us, and I put it bluntly, is useless," the prosecutor acknowledged.

As a result, she said it would be unfair to mount a case against them.

McLean will remain in custody, as he is awaiting trial for six counts of murder. He is accused of killing six members of a family in Duhaney Pen, St Thomas, nearly 11 years ago.

The trial is set to start on October 4.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com