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'Murderers Beat Up Victim's Pregnant Wife'

BY DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net FREEPORT - After gunmen shot and killed Erison Tanelus, they beat up his pregnant wife and threatened to kill her and the couple's young son if she did not give them "the money", the Supreme Court heard yesterday. Frantzcia St Louis Tanelus gave a statement to police on January 7, 2009, about what took place early that morning. She said three masked gunmen forced their way into the couple's apartment and shot her husband in the head. Samiko Rigby, 24, of Jones Town, Eight Mile Rock, is on trial for the murder. He is also accused of armed robbery and burglary. It is alleged that he was one of three men who entered the couple's apartment in Hepburn Town, Eight Mile Rock that morning. Detective Sgt Johnson, of the Serious Crime Unit, said he arrived at the scene around 3.30am and was directed to Apartment Five. He noticed that the lock was damaged and that a spent .9mm casing was on the ground outside. Sgt Johnson was led inside the apartment, and to an upstairs bedroom where the door lock was also damaged. He said a black man was lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. The body was removed around 5.58am. Sgt Johnson said around 7.55am, he went to the Rand Memorial Hospital's Maternity Ward, where he saw Mrs Tanelus. Mrs Tanelus was 27 years old and nine months pregnant at the time. She said the couple went to bed around midnight. Mrs Tanelus' sister-in-law, who was visiting from Haiti, was sleeping downstairs. Sometime after 2am, Mrs Tanelus got up to use the bathroom. Her husband also got up, looked out the window and saw three men trying to get into the house. He called police. Mrs Tanelus said the three men gained access to the house then forced open their bedroom door. They were wearing cloths with eye-holes over their faces, dark, hooded jackets, and were carrying medium-length guns. She said one of the men went up to her husband and shot him in the head. Her husband grabbed a cutlass and swung it at one of the men, then fell to the ground bleeding from the head. Mrs Tanelus said the men went downstairs, then came back and removed the bed mattress, searching for money. The men asked for money in Creole and threatened to kill her and her son. She said one of the gunmen started beating her in the face with his fist and demanding money. Mrs Tanelus showed them her son's piggy bank. The men continued to beat her, demanding more money. She told police they took her son downstairs and said they would kill him if she did not give up the money. She said she heard her son crying, then heard a gunshot. Mrs Tanelus pleaded with the men not to kill her baby. A short time later, she said, her son came upstairs. She told police she then got a towel for her husband, who was still on the floor bleeding. Mrs Tanelus said in addition to stealing $340 from the piggy bank, the gunmen also took another $70; her husband's LG cell phone valued at $400; and her sister-in-law's LG cell phone, valued at $290. She said she did not know why the men were looking for her husband. According to Mrs Tanelus, one of the men spoke with an American accent. He kept telling her that she talked too much, that she had given police information, and that his friend got locked up in connection with an earlier break-in at the house. The trial resumes today.

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