The Mario Deane murder saga - Adrian Morgan's journey from mental illness to a murder charge
Adrian Frater, News Editor
While the death of Mario Deane, who succumbed to a beating suffered while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James cannot be slighted, many persons remain unconvinced by the police's version of what took place.
In refuting allegations that Deane was beaten by the lawmen, the police have reported that the 31-year-old construction worker, who had aspirations of becoming an architect, was beaten by three cellmates - one considered insane, one schizophrenic and the other a deaf mute, who is believed to be mentally challenged.
Based on the opinion of a legal source, the men's mental state could render them unfit to answer the charges against them in court.
One person who has totally rejected the police's version of the incident is Clementine Williams of Whitehouse, Westmoreland, the mother of 25-year-old Adrian Morgan, one of the three men charged with Deane's murder.
Morgan was in custody after being arrested and charged for possession of a ganja spliff.
"I believe they are trying to frame my son because he is mentally ill," said Williams, as she participated in a protest demonstration before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court last week.
"I believe the police were the ones who did the beating but they are trying to blame my son because they did not know he has a family to stand up for him."
In addition, Williams is also contending that had personnel at the Whitehouse Police Station in Westmoreland treated a missing person report she filed on her son properly, he probably would not be in a cell at the Barnett Street Police Station on August 3 - the day Deane suffered the beating which caused his death.
"My son went missing, I didn't know where he was, so I went to Whitehouse Police Station and gave a statement, gave a picture and wrote up a missing person form," said Williams. "... It came over the air (radio) three times but we didn't hear anything from the police."
Williams said she was totally unaware that her son was locked up at the Barnett Street Police Station until she got a call from an associate, telling her Adrian was facing a murder charge arising from the Mario Deane beating.
"Saturday (August 9) morning, I get a phone call saying when last I see my son, I said I don't know," said Williams. "... the someone (the caller) said, 'I got a news a little while ago say your son got locked up for murder at the Barnett Street Police Station'."
Williams said when she heard the news about her son, she immediately rushed to Whitehouse Police Station to check if there was any truth to the story. It was there she received the confirmation.
In reflecting on her son's life and his mental illness, which she said cast a shadow over his life, Williams said her interventions and efforts to get him better have failed.
"My son, him never born mental (mentally ill)," Williams told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that prior to his illness he was a budding fisherman in Whitehouse.
"It look like him go to sea and tek some drugs ... it was after that he start to show some signs of mental illness."
Series of injections
"I took him to the Whitehouse Health Centre and dem give him injection ... him even admit at the Black River Hospital many times... . I even take him to Savanna-la-Mar (hospital) and them give him injection," added Williams.
Despite the treatment she sought and got for her son, Morgan's mental condition steadily deteriorated, much to the chagrin of his mother, who was anxious to see him get better.
"... Him gwaan and gwaan until him get off (increased state of mental illness) completely," noted Williams. "When him ready, him would still go Savanna-la-Mar for treatment."
Knowing that her son was mentally ill, Williams believed that instead of being locked up in a jail cell, he should have been getting medical attention. In fact, she is of the view that with better networking between police stations, the Whitehouse police would have been aware that her son was locked up in Montego Bay.
"While I was reporting my son missing in Westmoreland, he was in police custody in St James and they did not know ... with better networking, they would have known," argued Williams.
"The police did not tell me that my son was locked up at Barnett Street," said Williams. "If I knew he was there, I would have made efforts to get him out so that he could get the help I know he needs."
She added: "Right now mi belly a burn me because me have four boy pickney ... now the lady pickney dead ... a di police dem kill him, and me nah tek it so. While he might be mentally ill ... I am standing up for my son."
Thirty-five-year-old Marvin Orr, who is also charged with Deane's death, has been described as being schizophrenic by his family, who claim they were paying for him to stay at a home for the mentally ill and were unaware that he had left the home and was on the streets, from where he got arrested by the Barnett Street police.
The family of the third suspect, the deaf mute, who is said to be mentally challenged, is also reportedly coming out in defence of him, saying that based on his mild temperament, it is unlikely that he would have participated in any jail-cell beating.
However, much as the families of the three men are worried and concerned about the charges being levelled against them, prominent St James-based attorney Charles Sinclair told The Sunday Gleaner that, if it is confirmed that the men are mentally ill, they might not be called upon to stand trial.
"Under such circumstances, the court is going to ask for a psychological report on the men to see if they are fit to plead," said Sinclair.
"If they are deemed unfit, they will not be asked to offer a plead ... they could then be remanded in custody or placed in a mental facility."