By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE girl who knelt next to her uncle as they were being robbed outside his Yamacraw Shores home told a jury that she looked back to get a glimpse of the armed gunman’s face.
The niece, who was the prosecution’s final witness yesterday, said the last time she looked around, the gunman shot Stephen Sherman.
Mr Sherman, an assistant manager at the Royal Bank of Canada in Palmdale, was shot in the head when he pulled up to his Yamacraw Shores home on the evening of February 17, 2012.
He was robbed of his cell phone before being shot. His niece, who was in the car with him, was also robbed.
His wife, 44-year-old Renee Sherman, and 22-year-olds Janaldo Farrington and Cordero Bethel, both of Pinewood Gardens, are charged with conspiring to commit murder. Farrington and Bethel are together charged with his murder and the two armed robberies while the widow is charged with aiding and abetting the murder of her husband. All three have denied the charges.
In yesterday’s proceedings, the chief investigator was further cross-examined by lawyer Murrio Ducille who represents all three accused.
“You had an eye-witness in this case?” the lawyer asked. “Yes, sir,” replied Sergeant 527 Basil Evans. “And the eye-witness gave a description as to who the gunman was?” the lawyer asked.
“Yes, sir,” Sgt Evans replied, adding that this was on February 19, 2012. The lawyer asked if Farrington, when taken into custody on February 24, was placed on an identification parade. “No,” said the officer.
When asked if there was any reason for this, the investigator said that to his recollection, the witness wasn’t able to identify the person.
Mr Ducille then had the witness’ statement put to the officer who read it and was then asked if, in the circumstances, an ID parade should have been held.
Sgt Evans claimed that the witness appeared to be too distraught and the parents would not consent to her doing so at that time.
“The description you had did not match this man (Farrington), do you agree with me?” the lawyer asked. “Some of it,” Sgt Evans answered. “Some of it? All of it,” Mr Ducille suggested. The investigator disagreed.
After evidence from Dr Caryn Sands, a pathologist who testified that Mr Sherman died from the close-range gunshot wound to the head, prosecutor Sandradee Gardiner then called the Crown’s final witness.
When asked of her relation to the deceased, the witness said that he was her uncle through marriage to her biological aunt, Renee Sherman.
She recalled that Mr Sherman came to her house shortly after 7pm. “He was there for a few minutes before we left,” she said, adding that they left for his and her aunt’s house “in Yamacraw”.
“We got out of the car and a guy ran up to us and carry us to the side of the house and kneel us down. I was trying to look around and he told me to turn around. When I looked around the last time, he shot him,” the jury heard from the eye-witness.
Prosecutor Gardiner asked if anything happened before the shooting. The witness said the gunman asked them to empty their pockets. He took the little cash and her uncle’s cellular phone.
The prosecutor asked the witness why she had gone to Yamacraw Shores that evening. She said she was to do her aunt’s hair. She said she was surprised when Mr Sherman arrived and not her aunt. “I was expecting her to pick me up,” the witness said.
“Did you attend any ID parade?” the prosecutor asked. “No, ma’am,” she replied.
In cross-examination, Mr Ducille asked the witness if she gave a statement to police on February 19, 2012.
“Yes, sir,” she answered.
“In that statement you gave a description of the gunman?” the asked.
“Yes, sir,” she replied, before describing the gunman as being of “short build, very dark skin” with a bandana covering his mouth. The gunman also had a cap on, but appeared to have short hair, she added.
“Were you invited to an ID parade?” Mr Ducille then asked. The witness said no.
“Did you indicate that you may be able to ID the person if you saw them again?” the lawyer asked. “Yes,” the niece replied.
She also admitted that it was not the first time she had driven with Mr Sherman.
The remaining eight witnesses who had yet to give evidence were not called as prosecutor Gardiner indicated that the Crown would offer no further evidence and would close their case.
Mr Ducille had no objection to the remaining witnesses not being called and asked to make certain submissions in the absence of the jury.
Justice Roy Jones dismissed the jury to the following morning.