Sat | Oct 20, 2018

'They were drug dealers' - Accused killer says two of the victims were involved in cocaine trade

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer

Michael McLean, the man on trial for killing six people, including four children, has painted two of his alleged victims as drug dealers who had discussions about a large cocaine shipment with two men on the day they were killed.

McLean acknowledged, too, that on the day of the killings, he went to his home to collect "a hoe and one or two knives".

"Why did you pick up those items?" asked McLean's attorney, Carlton Colman, as he led him through his evidence.

"It was raining for a couple of days. When it rains, the water settles to the left side of my business place," he said in reference to the restaurant he operated in Morant Bay, St Thomas.

The St Thomas businessman was giving evidence in his murder trial in the Home Circuit Court yesterday after presiding judge, Justice Bertram Morrison, ruled that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence for him to state his defence.

He is on trial for killing his then girlfriend Terry-Ann Mohammed; her son, Jessie O'Gilvie; along with her aunt, Patrice McCool; and McCool's children - Lloyd McCool, Jihad McCool and Sean Chin - in February 2006.

Four of the bodies were found in bushes near Prospect Beach in St Thomas with their throats slashed, while Mohammed's badly burnt body was found in bushes in the community of Needham Pen, also in St Thomas.

The decomposing body of the other victim, six-year-old Jihad McCool, was found in a shallow grave in St Mary a week later.

McLean, in nearly two hours on the witness stand, recounted that on the day the six were killed, he accompanied Patrice McCool, also called Ferika, to the St Thomas community of Lyssons.

"She went into a store and was talking to (names withheld), who were two of Teenie and Ferika's best customers," he testified, referring to his former girlfriend by her pet name.

He said when Patrice McCool returned to the car, they travelled in, she informed him that "a certain amount of shipment was coming in soon".

"(Names withheld) had made arrangements for a few kilos of cocaine," McLean emphasised.

He said later that night he was transporting Mohammed home when a car blocked the path of his motor vehicle and two men emerged. According to his testimony, they were "concerned about guns and cocaine that were stolen by her nephew.

"She was telling them she was going to pay for the things stolen by her nephew, but they said they didn't want any money, they wanted the things that were stolen," he recounted.

He said the men pulled Mohammed by her hair and demanded their guns and drugs, before driving off with her.

McLean testified, too, that police investigators beat him and tied electrical wires to his testicles and shocked him repeatedly to compel him to give a statement.

He will continue his evidence tomorrow before being cross-examined by prosecutors.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com