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Ex-cop facing extradition from US to answer murder charge

Published:Wednesday | May 9, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A court in the United States (US) has thrown out an appeal by a fugitive ex-member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), paving the way for his extradition back to Jamaica to stand trial for murder.

Former Constable Mark Russell, who is one of two ex-policemen wanted for the brutal slaying of 18-year-old Ravin Thompson in 2007, was ordered extradited by a judge in New York last September.

However, Russell filed an appeal in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking to have the order set aside, claiming that Jamaican prosecutors had mishandled the evidence relating to his extradition and that he could not get a fair trial here.

US District Judge Cathy Seibel, however, dismissed those claims and ruled on April 23 that "petitioner Mark St Aubyn Russell's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied".

Thompson was killed in what the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) said then was a shoot-out with gunmen.

Relatives and residents who claimed to have witnessed the incident have, however, disputed the CCN's account, saying the teen was shot by members of a joint police-military team that was on patrol in the inner-city community of Whitfield Town, St Andrew.

Residents reported that his aunt accompanied police personnel who were transporting Thompson to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), but later informed them that she was kicked out of the vehicle shortly after it left the community.

Thompson's aunt reported that when she arrived at the KPH some time later, she learned that Thompson had multiple gunshot wounds and several fractured bones.

A post-mortem report and pictures obtained by The Gleaner at the time revealed that Thompson received gunshots to the head, chest, hands, and legs.

Both hands were fractured, his face was severely battered, and his neck and ribs were broken.

Mixed emotions

Yesterday, his mother, Angela Hutchinson, said a part of her was "overwhelmed" by the latest development, but added that another part of her "remained sad".

Hutchinson said she was sad because the other police constable accused of killing her son was still on the run.

"My son was no wrongdoer. He never offended the system, and look what the system did to him!" she said.

She added: "A just di truth me a look fah, not justice, because there is no justice in Jamaica."

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, whose office had made a formal request for Russell's extradition, said she was now waiting to see what his next move would be.

"We are kept abreast by our partners at the Justice Department and we'll just wait until the process is finished and they issue the warrant of surrender," she told The Gleaner yesterday.

She added: "When he is about to be extradited, they will notify us and we will notify law enforcement here to receive him."

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com