Sun | Dec 15, 2019

Double-murder spoils Christmas in Hanover

Published:Thursday | December 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMHopeton Bucknor/ Gleaner Writer
Frank Birch
Kenneth Heman


Murder tainted the Christmas celebrations in the Cold Spring district in Hanover early yesterday morning as two men were ambushed by gunmen as they walked home. They were shot multiple times, dying on the spot.

The dead men have been identified as 53-year-old shopkeeper Kenneth 'Sam' Heman of a section of the Cold Spring community called John Crow Hole, and his nephew, Frank 'Fanso' Birch, a mason of the same address.

"It is both shocking and shameful that not even Christmas is getting respect anymore," said a police officer who visited the murder scene. "In times gone by, Christmas was a time of peace where people show that extra love. You would not even hear a harsh word much less a senseless act of violence."

According to police reports, approximately 2 a.m., Heman was in bed at his home when he got news that his nephew, Birch, was in a drunken state and was behaving in a disorderly manner at a shop in the community. He went in search of his nephew, located him, calmed him down and was taking him home when they were ambushed by several men with handguns, who opened fire on them. Heman began to run, but he was chased and shot.

When the police, who responded to the shooting, went to the location, the bodies of the two men were seen at different locations. Both men had multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body. The scene was processed and the bodies removed.




"My uncle was a very loving, hard working, and very kind individual," said Simone Birch, a niece of one of the deceased men. "Uncle Fanso only mek noise when him drunk. He was not a troublemaker as such."

While the fatal incident started with Birch, it appeared that there was bad blood between Heman, who is the father of four children, and other persons in the community.

"A just three weeks ago them burn down him shop, and the boy dem open fire pon the building," a resident told The Gleaner yesterday. "We need to have soldiers in place in the community because we have some dangerous men here."

Despite the introduction of several new policing strategies, gunmen continue to create problems in the western parish. Since the start of the year, 56 persons have been murdered in the parish, which is just two short of the 58 persons murdered there last year.