St Catherine men who abandoned trial midway found guilty of murder
Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer
The three St Catherine men who shot another man twelve times then absconded in the middle of their murder trial have been found guilty in their absence.
A jury of seven women deliberated for nearly three hours yesterday before returning a unanimous guilty verdict against Oshane Coley, Devon Harriott and Michael Jacobs.
They are to be sentenced on October 20.
Prosecutors Paula Llewellyn and Yanique Gardener Brown led evidence that Coley, Jacobs and Harriott were among four gunmen who invaded the St Catherine home of Craig Lewis on the morning of December 9, 2009 and fired nearly 30 bullets, striking him twelve times.
Lewis gave police investigators a detailed statement identifying his killers before he succumbed to his injuries nine days later.
Justice Martin Gayle, who presided over the trial, heard legal arguments from prosecutors and the attorneys for the three men before ruling that the statement be admitted.
The men, who were this year released on bail after nearly seven years in custody, did not turn up for court the day after the ruling to admit the statement of the deceased man.
The three have been on the run since.
Gayle refused to stop the trial and C.J Mitchell, the attorney for one of the men, agreed with that position.
"The court is doing the right thing by continuing the trial. Persons must not think that they can hold the court system to ransom by not coming to court,” Mitchell said in court a day after the men absconded.