Puzzle over lack of name in X6-killer probe
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
Police investigators probing the death of 17-year-old schoolboy Khajeel Mais have been accused of double standards for their decision not to release the identity of the alleged BMW X6 killer as a person of interest.
Julian Jones-Griffiths, the manager for dancehall star Mavado (real name David Brooks), who has twice been listed as a person of interest, said this move by the police is "unfathomable" given the evidence they have already collected and the haste with which other individuals are identified.
"At one point it was almost like a daily occurrence. A crime is committed (for example) in east Kingston and you see 15 men with all kinds of aliases listed as persons of interest," he told The Gleaner yesterday.
"It just seems like there is one rule for them and one rule for us," he added in reference to the reported wealth of the alleged shooter.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell fired back immediately, saying persons not close to the probe are making assumptions that the police have credible evidence which links the alleged driver to the killing.
Waiting for scientific evidence
Powell, who is the head of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), said this is not so, but gave the assurance that when the police have scientific evidence, he would ensure that the alleged driver is listed as a person of interest.
"If I get back evidence to say this van has been involved in an accident, meaning we have found fresh paint on it or if we can say the gun that was fired belongs to this licensed firearm holder, then I am going to be the first to put out the person (the alleged driver) as a person of interest because (then) we would have had enough to interview the person at that stage," he explained.
"We have absolutely no agenda but to ensure that whoever is culpable is brought to book. We (CIB) apply the rules consistently. It has nothing to do with personality," he asserted.
Mais, a sixth-form student at Kingston College, was shot and killed after the taxi he was in collided with the back of the X6 in Havendale two Fridays ago.
Eyewitnesses report that the enraged X6 driver blocked the path of the taxi and fired several shots into the vehicle, hitting Mais in the head.
Investigators believe the driver, a United States citizen, fled the island the following day.
However, Jones-Griffiths was not letting the senior policeman off so easy, pointing out that the last time his client was listed as a person of interest there was no evidence or witness statement alleging any wrongdoing.
"There was absolutely nothing connecting him to whatever incident took place but they were very happy to run to the media," he charged.
He also pointed to the case involving another dancehall star, Spragga Benz (real name Carlton Grant), who was listed as a person of interest in a triple slaying in McKintyre Villa while we was performing overseas.
"In this case, the police seem to have credible evidence or at least enough evidence to make this man what you would genuinely deem to be a person of interest," he said.
"And you not putting out his name. So everybody is asking why not?" he questioned. "What is it about this man?"
In addition, Jones-Griffiths said the police would also help their cause by making the identity of the alleged driver known.
"In today's world, you put his name up on Twitter or other social-network sites, people would say, 'Oh, I know whey him deh'," he reasoned.
However, Powell countered that making the identity of the alleged driver public could give "the correct person a chance to escape".
"We will put out anybody, it doesn't matter who, as a person of interest if we believe we have enough to interview the person," he insisted.