Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Witness says gang killed bus driver fighting extortion

Published:Tuesday | September 28, 2021 | 12:13 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

An alleged shooter in the One Don Gang had reportedly callously boasted about cutting down a bus driver in front of the police in the Spanish Town bus park in St Catherine, the prosecution’s first star witness in the Clansman Gang trial told the Home Circuit Court yesterday.

The witness, who was on day four of his evidence-in-chief, told the court that the reputed leader of the gang, Andre Blackman Bryan, had ordered his bodyguard, ‘CJ’, who is defendant Tareek James, to kill the bus driver following complaints from two alleged members of the gang that he was encouraging his colleagues to resist paying extortion fees.

After the shooting, the self-confessed member of the gang said that he accompanied ‘Richie’, another alleged member of the gang, to pick up James and another alleged crony known as ‘Terror’, after Richie said he was “coward” to go for them.

Asked by the prosecutor what James had said to him, he replied, “He was telling men how him shoot the busman in front of the police.”

The witness, who was detailing the seventh murder that he had claimed to have knowledge of committing, told the court yesterday that he was involved in planning the murder after ‘Mackerel’, who is now deceased, and ‘Cubby’ reportedly complained to both him and Bryan that the bus driver “mek dem nah collect the right amount of extortion money”.

“Blackman said he was going to use CJ to do it. Mackerel said he want CJ to wear a khaki uniform and Blackman said it was a good idea,” the witness told the court.

Also included in the plan was for them to pick up another gun from an alleged gang member called ‘Sick Head’, who was to assist them to commit the murder.

‘Laughing and chilling’

However, when asked what was his contribution to the plan, the witness said, “I was just there listening, yuh know.”

“Well, I wasn’t there,” the prosecutor quickly replied, jokingly, eliciting laughter from the witness, who then said he was just there laughing and chilling.

The following morning, the witness said, he was instructed to call ‘Squeeze Eye’ (defendant Jahzeek) Blake and another alleged gang member, ‘Raetae Blacks’, to get the ‘duppy truck’, which he explained was a stolen Nissan Ad Wagon, which is used whenever the gang is going to shoot up somewhere or kill someone.

Following that, he said that he was instructed by Blackman to tell Raetae Blacks and the others to meet him in front of a pharmacy across from the bus park, while he went for Terror and CJ, who he said was dressed in his uniform.

Sixth murder

According to the witness, the men allegedly went to kill the bus driver without him, but when he saw CJ later he told him that the man was killed.

Earlier, the witness provided details on a sixth murder, which he said was committed at Old Road in Thompson Pen, St Catherine.

According to him, Blackman had instructed him to carry three alleged members of the gang “fi go mash up a work”, and that only one of the men was known to him – ‘Flava’, who he said had a gun.

The witness said he drove the men to the location and left and later overheard Flava telling Blackman “dat him shoot di bwoy off the wall and took a gun off a him”.

Flava, the witness said, is believed to be on the streets.

In the meantime, the witness said that in carrying out both of the alleged murders, he had rented the cars that were used and had used the extortion money to pay the fees. He also said that he had also bought the ‘duppy truck’ on Bryan’s instructions.

Bryan and 32 other alleged gang members are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

The One Don Gang is a splinter of the Clansman Gang, which was allegedly headed by Tesha Miller, who is currently serving a nearly 39-year sentence for accessory to murder in connection with the 2008 death of former Jamaica Urban Transit Company Chairman Douglas Chambers.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com