Thu | Nov 23, 2017

'They are trying to trap me' ... cop denies killing teen

Published:Tuesday | July 18, 2017 | 2:56 PM

Mark Russell, the former police constable on trial for killing an unarmed teenage boy, today denied any involvement in the incident and insisted that members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) who testified against him are lying.

Russell, who is on trial for the shooting death of 18-year-old Ravin Thompson in July 2007, was giving an unsworn statement in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

Prosecutor Jeremy Taylor had earlier closed his case after calling 13 witnesses.

Russell's attorney, Michael Jordan, elected not to make a no-case submission, paving the way for Rusell to testify on his own behalf.

Among the 13 witnesses called by Taylor were three JDF soldiers who testified that they saw Russell place a police-issued M16 rifle in Thompson’s hands before the teen was shot by another former constable, identified as Morris Lee, along Darling Street.

But Russell, in his nearly one hour-long statement, accused the soldiers of "twisting things."

"I would never do something like that. They are saying that to trap me," the former constable insisted.

"They made up that story because they wanted to add something to make their story sound better," he added. 

Russell acknowledged that he was part of a joint police-military team that was on patrol in the inner city community of Whitfield Town on the night Thompson was killed.

However, he insisted that teen was already bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest when he and members of his team arrived at Alexander Road in the community.

He also testified that while transporting the injured teen to the Kingston Public Hospital, a second JDF service vehicle sped away leaving the one on which he was travelling.

Russell said he heard several explosions before his team caught up with the second JDF vehicle along Darling Street in downtown Kingston.