Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Murder case involving Portland businessman, co-accused to skip preliminary hearing

Published:Friday | September 18, 2020 | 5:10 PM
Portland businessman Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald and his deceased wife Tonia - Contributed photo

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has signalled that the murder case involving popular Portland businessman Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald will bypass a preliminary hearing in the parish court and will be sent directly to the Home Circuit Court.

This announcement came early on Thursday when McDonald and his co-accused, Asca Barnes, made their second appearance before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

“The DPP has indicated that the case will be taken directly to the circuit court,” one prosecutor disclosed.

The transfer could take place in “two to three weeks”, prosecutors said.

Under the Committal Proceedings Act, murder and other cases triable in the circuit courts should first go before a parish court judge to decide if there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case.

However, as is expected to happen in McDonald’s case, the DPP has the authority to enter a nolle prosecui, discontinuing a case before the parish court and placing it before the circuit court on a voluntary bill of indictment.

The impending transfer scuttled a planned bail application by attorneys for McDonald and Barnes.

The application is now set for October 8.

Defence attorney Bert Samuels, who is representing McDonald, said his client was disappointed by the postponement of his bail application.

The popular businessman has been in custody for 46 days, Samuels noted.

“This accused has a constitutional right to have his bail application heard at the earliest time,” the attorney complained.

Prosecutors and investigators indicated that they were “strongly opposed” to bail.

McDonald and Barnes were taken into custody on August 5 during a series of coordinated operations by the Major Investigation Division.

The businessman is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife, Tonia McDonald, whose partially burnt body was found with the throat slashed and slumped beside her razed car along the Sherwood Forest main road in Portland on July 20.

Denvalyn Minott, who was also arrested and charged in connection with the killing, pleaded guilty in the Home Circuit Court this week and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

READ: Contract killer makes tearful confession to murder of Portland businessman's wife

After his guilty plea, prosecutors divulged details of a witness statement Minott gave police investigators claiming that  Everton McDonald offered him $3 million to kill Tonia McDonald.

Minott also admitted that he hired another man to carry out the crime and said he watched as the man stabbed the 32-year-old businesswoman repeatedly.

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