Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Four murder accused to be retried today after 13-year wait

Published:Tuesday | May 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Four men are today set to go on a retrial in the Home Circuit Court for murder, 13 years after their first hearing ended in a hung jury.

The retrial of Kimarley Cooper, Carlos Howard, Leslie Nugent and Damion Crossdale comes nearly 17 years after the December 2001 shooting death of Desmond Lawrence.

Valerie Neita-Robertson, the attorney who represents Howard, says following a preliminary hearing, the four men, along with two other co-accused, Gary Cooke and Richard Peart, were committed to stand trial in the circuit court in August 2002.

Neita-Roberston said in April 2005, five of the six men faced a murder trial which ended with a deadlocked jury and a second trial was ordered.

Cooke did not show up for the trial.

The accused have been on bail pending the retrial.

Neita-Robertson revealed that during the 13-year wait, Peart passed away while the lead police investigator and the person who succeeded him have since retired.

"The doctor (who performed the post mortem) has migrated and one of the defence witnesses has died," she added.

According to the allegations, Cooper, Howard, Nugent and Crossdale were among a group of seven armed men who confronted Lawrence as he walked with his mother along York Street in Franklyn Town, east Kingston on the night of December 11, 2001.

Lawrence's mother told investigators she saw the men approach her son and one of them pointed a gun at him before shooting him in the stomach.

According to the woman's account, Lawrence fell to the ground and another man armed with a "long gun" shot him several times.

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