Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Trial of ex-cop | Prosecutors claim teen was executed, defence says soldiers are lying

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

The prosecutor in the murder trial of a former police constable yesterday charged that the teenage boy he is accused of killing was "executed" because he had become a "bother" to the policeman and his colleague.

To bolster this assertion, prosecutor Jeremy Taylor cited the evidence of a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier, who claimed that he overheard a telephone conversation that Police Constable Morris Lee was having before the unarmed teen, Ravin Thompson, was shot and later died in July 2007.

"Boss, we find the gun, but a di wrong man we shoot. We a go done him," Taylor said, quoting what the soldier claimed he heard the cop said.

 

SOLDIER'S TESTIMONY

 

According to the soldier's testimony, Lee turned to his colleague, Constable Mark Russell, after the phone conversation, and said, "Mek we go deal wid it."

Russell is on trial for killing Thompson while Lee remains on the run.

Three JDF soldiers who testified during the trial have charged that the 18-year-old was shot several times after Russell placed a police-issued M16 rifle in his hands then took it back.

"They planned to execute him out there on Darling Street because he had become a bother to them," said Taylor as he made his closing argument in Russell's murder trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

"What is it that Ravin Thompson did to deserve that treatment ... shot on the street like a mangy dog?" the prosecutor questioned.

But Russell's attorney, Michael Jordan, described the soldiers as dishonest and said that their evidence was part of an attempt to save their skin.

Jordan pointed out to the seven-member jury that Taylor had presented no ballistic evidence to show that the Thompson had handled a firearm and asked them to consider how the former police constable would benefit from the teen's death.

... The soldiers would have something to hide - defence attorney

"There is no evidence that he did anything wrong," Michael Jordon said, citing evidence that Mark Russell never fired his weapon on the two occasions when Ravin Thompson was shot.

On the contrary, the attorney said that the soldiers would have something to hide, pointing to the testimony of a JDF corporal who admitted that he fired 11 bullets at a man, believed to be armed with an illegal firearm, who was standing within an arm's length of the teen.

The JDF corporal said that the teen was found minutes later with a gunshot wound to the chest. "They [the soldiers] fixed their stories to ensure that they are not held responsible for the murder of Ravin Thompson," Jordan charged.

Justice David James, who is presiding over the trial, is to begin his directions to the jury today.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com