Sun | Jan 23, 2022

A contract killer’s trail of blood

Published:Friday | November 6, 2020 | 12:11 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Contract killing has been a perennial problem for law enforcers.
Contract killing has been a perennial problem for law enforcers.
A poster of Roshane ‘Brushy’ Chambers in his aunt’s bar in loving memory. Chambers, who lived on Vietnam Lane in Bog Walk, St Catherine, was one of nine alleged victims of hired gun Ashado McFarlane, who was shot dead on October 26.
A poster of Roshane ‘Brushy’ Chambers in his aunt’s bar in loving memory. Chambers, who lived on Vietnam Lane in Bog Walk, St Catherine, was one of nine alleged victims of hired gun Ashado McFarlane, who was shot dead on October 26.
Vietnam Lane, Bog Walk, St Catherine, where two alleged victims of Ashado McFarlane’s gun were killed six weeks apart.
Vietnam Lane, Bog Walk, St Catherine, where two alleged victims of Ashado McFarlane’s gun were killed six weeks apart.
Contract killing has been a perennial problem for law enforcers.
Contract killing has been a perennial problem for law enforcers.
Ashado ‘Boysie’ McFarlane, who was tagged with nine murders.
Ashado ‘Boysie’ McFarlane, who was tagged with nine murders.
Security expert Robert Finzi-Smith.
Security expert Robert Finzi-Smith.
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The mother of 49-year-old David Drummond has been having nightmares since the death of her son on July 16 in Palm district, Treadways, allegedly at the hands of contract killer Ashado ‘Boysie’ McFarlane.

She still endures sleepless nights while bawling in the days when memories of her son’s brutal slaying surface.

The mother, who has requested that her name not be published on account of safety concerns, said that her son, who was a contractor, was a strong provider for the family, coming to her rescue and reroofing her house when it was damaged by fire.

McFarlane and Jahmeele Omar Smith, otherwise called ‘Blackman’, were shot dead by a crack team from the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch in an alleged firefight in Duncans Pen, St Catherine, on October 26.

McFarlane was accused of killing at least nine people between June and September and was a person of interest in other murders.

Speaking in sombre tones while standing at her gate, the still-grieving mother praised the police force for sending McFarlane to the grave.

“They did a fine job, and I am more than glad for what them do because he was going back to hurt many, many more,” she told The Gleaner.

It is unclear what percentage of murders are contract hits, but the phenomenon of hitmen-for-hire has been a perennial concern for investigators in a country that racked up 1,073 killings as at October 31, some 2.5 per cent fewer than in 2019 when 1,100 people were slain.

Drummond’s mother believes that he was killed because of an internal family squabble over lands in Palm district.

“My family has been targeted and challenged with the lands round there … . Dem going around and a keep up the foolishness … , carrying out the revenge on it,” she said.

A source in the community reported having seen McFarlane visit the St Catherine district to collect money on at least two occasions before returning to execute Drummond.

“Somebody know someone that they met in jail and could do the job, which is to kill him (Drummond). Dem say da one yah nah miss … . Him come the week before and collect and come back the Tuesday and say everything all right Thursday,” the source said.

Thursday turned out to be the day Drummond was killed and his sister, who was in proximity of him, also shot in the incident.

Drummond’s mother recalled her son’s final moments and her daughter’s desperate dash to save her own life.

“She run off, and him run her down and come back and empty out the gun pon David and finish him and jump in the waiting car … . Three of my kids were attacked this year,” the mother said.

The third shooting victim, Drummond’s brother, was targeted in the area in May. The mother is uncertain whether McFarlane played a role in that attack but is not ruling out that possibility.

Her husband is planning to sell out property he owns in order to move away from the tragic memories.

Widespread reign of terror

McFarlane’s reign of terror spanned several north-central St Catherine communities, including Bog Walk and Riversdale.

Two of McFarlane’s alleged victims, Yashawn ‘Big Up’ Isaacs and Roshane ‘Brushy’ Chambers, lived on Vietnam Lane in Bog Walk.

They were killed on August 2 and September 12, respectively.

Chambers’ mother was too distraught to speak on the heels of his autopsy as the family sought to wrap up plans for his funeral.

Meanwhile, a family friend of Chambers’ expressed shock at the trail of death and grief that had followed the killer.

“A suh much man dat deh man deh kill inna 2020 alone? All the person weh bring him bout ya fi feel it, too,” the friend told The Gleaner.

Even though McFarlane is dead, all relatives or friends of the victims requested that their names not be published, a sign of the fear that his allies might return to exact vengeance.

Further down Vietnam Lane, Isaacs’ grandmother was still tearful. She learnt via Facebook of McFarlane’s involvement in her grandson’s death.

The grandmother said that she raised Isaacs from he was four, doing so for the next 12 years until his mother returned from overseas.

But even amid her grief, she sounded a note of redemption for the contract killer.

“If he is the killer, he was only hired. Me just feel sad. I miss him (Isaacs), and when everybody gone and I get lonely, I remember him,” she told The Gleaner.

“Mi nuh want know who kill him. Him know, and God know … . I forgive them!”

Over in Orangefield, 10 kilometres north-west of Bog Walk, two more of McFarlane’s alleged victims, Steve Brown and Rolando Williams, were gunned down.

McFarlane was also wanted for the murder of Millicent Fisher Gunn in Linstead; Clifton Green at Watercourse district, Riversdale; and Dalvin ‘Stalky’ Alexander in Mansfield Heights, St Ann.

He was also wanted for the disappearance of Kenroy McPherson, who is now believed to be dead.

Contract killing a Growing concern

The value of hits ranges from minuscule amounts to millions, security sources have said, but the motivation to pull the trigger centres around several factors.

Security expert Robert Finzi-Smith said that high-value targets demand bigger paydays — depending on just how desperate the sponsor is to find them.

“There was an unfortunate comment once that said, ‘If you find the right man, a thousand dollars will get you a duppy’, which is unfortunate. I am also told it also depends on who wants somebody dead and why,” Finzi-Smith told The Gleaner.

Jamaica’s scores of poor communities, with crumbling infrastructure and informal settings, operate as incubators for violent crime among at-risk youth. Many of those urban and semi-urban dens are dominated by the country’s 250 gangs, although almost another 150 are in hibernation but not completely dead.

Citing the years-long wave of kidnappings in Mexico, Finzi-Smith said that contract killing has emerged as a major concern for police sleuths.

“In Mexico City, people would kidnap people and charge ransom to get them back. Contract killings have become a cottage industry …, so somebody is hurt, and they don’t have the wherewithal to do something to you physically or immediately, and they sit down on it until somebody says to somebody, ‘I know somebody who can fix that for you’,” he said.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com