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Peter Vogel Murder Trial: Hearing begins 10 years after killing of UWI lecturer

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The trial of the couple charged with the murder of Dr Peter Vogel, a former lecturer at the Mona Campus of the  University of the West Indies (UWI), got underway in the Home Circuit Court this morning, almost ten years after his death.

Yanika Scott, who was Vogel's helper at the time, and her boyfriend Kelvin Downer, are on trial for killing the former lecturer on July 18, 2007.

In her opening statement, lead prosecutor Maxine Jackson told the seven-member jury that the killing was unprovoked.

"Neither were they acting in self-defence. This was clear, deliberate murder," said Jackson, a deputy director of public prosecutions.

She acknowledged that there are no eyewitnesses to Vogel's death, but said there was enough evidence pointing to Scott and Downer.

"We have a set of circumstances that, when we put them together, I am sure you will agree they committed the act," Jackson said.

The former lecturer's oldest daughter, Maia Vogel was the first witness to testify.

She recounted finding her father's body on the floor of the study room inside the family's Mona Commons home.

"He was face down with his hands and feet tied and a blue cloth over his face," said Maia, who now resides in the United States and is attending Rutgers University in the state of New Jersey.

Maia, who was attending Mona Preparatory School at the time, testified that she went over to her father and tried to "wake him" but he wasn't answering.

"When you said you tried to wake him, tell us what you did," Jackson said.

"I was calling his name and moving him, but he wasn't answering," Maia replied.

She said when she checked, neither Scott nor her infant child, who lived with the family, was in their room.

"I looked at her bed and it didn't look like anyone slept on it. I looked at her closet and the door was opened and it looked like all her belongings were gone," Maia said recounted.

The matter has just resumed after the adjournment for lunch.