Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
The final prosecution witness in the much-publicised Mount Alvernia kidnapping case testified in the case's preliminary examination on Wednesday that one of the defendants was motivated by a desire for revenge.
Twenty-three-year-old cabinet-maker Jonathan 'Clevaugn' Mitchell of Spaldings, Manchester; 22-year-old barber Trevon Tomlinson of Cornwall Courts, Montego Bay; 26-year-old counsellor Jenise Regisford of Bloomfield, Connecticut, United States, and Cornwall Courts, Montego; and a 17-year-old boy of Paradise, Montego Bay, are charged before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court with kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to extort.
The charges are connected to the abduction of a three-year-old Mount Alvernia Preparatory School student in St James on May 3, 2011. The child, who was reportedly taken from the school while waiting to be picked up by his parents, was later found unharmed in Manchester, and the four accused were later arrested and charged.
Detective Corporal Duwayne Dixon of the Coral Gardens Police Station in Montego Bay, who was attached to the Montego Bay Criminal Investigation Branch at the time, told the court that he conducted separate interviews with the defendants on May 4, a day after they were taken into custody.
The officer told the court that in his interview with Mitchell, the accused man said he (Mitchell) was making a payback to the child's father, to whom Mitchell had formerly been employed.
"Mr Mitchell told me that he did not really kidnap the child; it was because the child's father wasn't paying him for injuries he had received while on duty, so it was just evil for evil," Dixon testified.
"Mr Tomlinson told me that he was just going along with it and that he did not want to do it, and the minor accused also told me he was just going along with it. Ms Regisford told me that she didn't know it was a kidnapping and that she thought 'Clevaugn' (Mitchell) was just bringing the child to Manchester," added Dixon.
But under cross-examination, Mitchell's lawyer, Petrona Wallock, challenged the officer's testimony about what her client had reportedly told him during the interview.
"Would you agree that there's nothing in your statement saying that Mr Mitchell said to you that he didn't really kidnap the child and it's because the father did not pay him for his injuries?" asked Wallock.
"That is not in the statement," Dixon admitted.
"I'm going to suggest to you that Mr Mitchell never spoke those words to you," continued Wallock.
"Yes, ma'am, he did say those words," replied Dixon.
Resident Magistrate Wilson Smith eventually set the case for a September 17 trial date, and ordered the four defendants to be remanded until fresh bail bonds be made out for them.