Fri | Dec 6, 2019

Witness says he’d still testify without plea deal

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:41 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

A defence attorney yesterday questioned the prosecution’s star witness’ motives for testifying against accused Tesha Miller.

The witness, a self-proclaimed ex-member of the Spanish Town-based Clansman Gang, last week told the court that he decided to testify because 13 members of his family were killed between 2013 and 2015, and so he decided to call time on a culture of violence.

However, Samuels, who is representing Miller, suggested that the witness’ reason for testifying was because he entered into a plea-bargain agreement with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a reduction in his prison sentence.

“The reason you are here testifying is because you have a deal with the DPP. Is that true?” Samuels asked.

“No,” the witness responded.

The attorney, who began cross-examination yesterday morning, also asked the former gang member if he was aware that he would not get a reduced sentence if he decided not to testify, but he said he was not aware.

“You would have proceeded to testify in this trial even if your sentence was not reduced?” Samuels asked.

“Yes, sir,” the witness responded, evoking laughter from the attorney, who pressed him on how he felt when he found out that his sentence would be reduced.

“I never really feel no way about it. If I could give evidence [even if] my sentence would not be reduced, I would do it same way,” the witness maintained.

Earlier in the proceedings, it was revealed that the witness last Tuesday entered into plea-bargain agreement with the DPP.

Under the agreement, the witness, who was serving life for murder with eligibility for parole after 16 years, had his sentence reduced to 10 years. He is also serving three years for attempted arson. The former gang member, who has served just over two years behind bars, pleaded guilty to both charges.

Continuing his cross-examination of the witness, Samuels asked the witness if he would be applying for parole after serving one-third of the sentence.

He said, “No,” further explaining that he prefers being behind bars.

Samuels then asked him why he accepted the plea-bargain agreement if this was the case.

“What I want you to understand, remember that I am a criminal. I have killed people,” the witness said.

“How many?” Samuels asked.

The witness said, “A lot,” before the prosecution objected to the line of questioning.

Meanwhile, Samuels suggested that the witness last week told the court several things that were absent from his statement to the police, which is said to have been taken between February 2017 and March 2018.

In response, the witness said, “Everything that I have said here from the start to the finish, it is the truth.”

Miller is on trial at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston for accessory before and after the fact to the 2008 murder of Chambers.

The trial continues tomorrow.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com