By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A WOMAN told a court yesterday how the car she and her nephew were in was fired upon.
Joanne Forbes testified that one night in April last year, she left her mother’s birthday party with her nephew to drive to Thompson Lane and pick up her son and grandson.
When Ms Forbes and her nephew, “AJ”, got to an open lot, she said, she saw Rafik Turnquest looking in the direction of the car.
Then she heard “Pap! pap! pap! pap!” and realised that she and her nephew were being shot at – just before she saw her son Jamalio Forbes trying to get into the car.
The witness said told her nephew AJ to start up the car and drive away.
As she recalled what transpired on the night of April 8, 2011, the man accused of triple attempted murder sat in the prisoner dock behind his attorneys.
Turnquest, 27, of Toote Shop Corner faces three charges of attempted murder.
It is claimed that he tried to murder Joanne Forbes, Jamalio ‘Fat Dawg’ Forbes and Arnold ‘AJ’ Stubbs. Turnquest denies the charges.
Yesterday, at the opening of the trial, prosecutor Koshina Marshall called Ms Forbes to the witness box to give evidence.
She explained that on the night in question, it was her mother’s birthday party, and she asked Arnold Stubbs if he could take her to collect Jamalio.
The witness said they drove to Thompson Lane, where they stopped at an open lot and she saw Rafik Turnquest not far away.
“All I hear is pap! pap! pap! pap!” she exclaimed in court.
“Why he shooting us?” the witness said she asked her nephew.
Ms Forbes said she saw her son Jamalio running to the car and eventually getting in before “I told AJ to start up the car.”
She asked her son where should they go and “he say to the police station.”
When they got there, she said, “AJ told them I was shot.”
She was taken to the Accident and Emergency section of the Princess Margaret Hospital.
“The person you said shot at you, how long have you known him?” the prosecutor asked.
“I know him for nine years of his life,” Ms Forbes answered.
“During the time that you knew him, how often did you see him?” Ms Marshall asked.
“I saw him like twice a day. I is go around the corner from where they live to tote water”, she said, adding that the accused often helped her put bottles of water in her car.
The witness testified that the parking lot in question was “very bright” thanks to a street light and lights from two nearby houses.
She said the shooter was about 20 feet away from the car.
“As you were viewing his face, was your view obstructed in any way?” the prosecutor asked.
“No, ma’am,” she said.
Ms Forbes then showed the jurors where she had been shot.
“I was shot up in my thigh and in my back,” she said, adding that one of the bullets came through her thigh, grazed her groin and lodged in the front passenger’s seat.
The witness identified the accused as the man who shot at her.
“Do you know the name of the person that shot you?” the prosecutor asked.
“Rafik Turnquest,” Ms Forbes said.
During cross examination, defence attorney Ramona Farquharson-Seymour asked whether as they were driving, the witness heard her son call out to her.
“No, ma’am,” she answered.
“You then told AJ to stop the car,” the attorney suggested.
The witness disagreed, also denying that she heard the shots after her son was approaching the car.
“Did you give a statement to any police?” the attorney asked.
“When I was in hospital” the witness answered. Mrs Seymour asked her if she recalled reading over and signing a statement.
“I don’t recall,” Ms Forbes said.
She was given her statement to police days after the incident to read.
“Is it correct to say you saw Jamalio coming towards the car and then saw Rafik by Toote Shop corner?” the attorney asked.
“No, no, no, no” Ms Forbes said.
“I’m suggesting you were about to come out of the vehicle when you heard gun shots,” Mrs Seymour said.
“Yes ma’am,” the witness answered, before denying the suggestion that after hearing the shots, she asked her nephew to pull off.
“I suggest you are not being truthful with this court,” the attorney said.
Ms Forbes disagreed and said she was being truthful.
Mrs Seymour asked the witness if she agreed that the vacant lot had no lights on or around it. Ms Forbes did not agree.
The witness did agree, however, that her nephew’s car had cut off when they pulled into Thompson Lane and up to the vacant lot.
“I’m going to suggest to you, when AJ started the car, you then heard the shots,” the attorney said.
Ms Forbes said no.
“I suggest you told that to police in your statement,” the attorney said.
“No, not like that,” Ms Forbes answered.
“I’m suggesting to you, you did not see Jamalio until after you heard the shots,” the attorney said. Ms Forbes said that was correct but dismissed the next suggestion, that she did not see the accused before spotting her son.
“Do you know one Shakera Forbes?” the attorney asked the witness. Ms Forbes said no. The attorney said that Shakera Forbes is the girlfriend of the accused and the witness said she didn’t know her, “not like that”.
“You told her four weeks ago that you know Rafik wasn’t the one who shot at you and Jamalio,” the attorney suggested to the witness.
“No ma’am,” Ms Forbes responded.
Mrs Seymour then suggested to the witness that during that conversation, she offered to drop the case against Rafik Turnquest if she was willing to pay $2,800 Ms Forbes denied this.
After another 10 minutes of questioning, Mrs Seymour suggested to the witness that she was lying to the court about what she saw happen.
Ms Forbes did not agree.
She returns to court today for re-examination by Ms Marshall and Maria Zancoula.
Justice Vera Watkins is presiding over the trial.
Court proceedings begin at 10am.