By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
“WHO ‘seek’ at you?” was the question a man accused of murder reportedly asked his then-girlfriend upon her return from “the shop”, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.
Donalee Thompson testified that on January 16, 2011 at around noon, she went to Margo’s Convenience Store, where “this person seek at me”.
“I paid him no mind,” she told prosecutor Kendra Kelly, as she had never seen the person before.
She did see “Rodney” there, she added.
The witness said she went back home before driving to Charles Panday’s house and giving him the car keys when he came out of a little shop in his front yard.
“He asked me who seek at me when I was by the shop,” Thompson said.
The witness said she told her then-boyfriend she didn’t know the man, then he jumped in the car and left.
Panday, 40, of of Malcolm Road, and 28-year-old Rodney Sylvester, of Winders Terrace, are charged with killing Eamon Hepburn, who was gunned down in Kennedy Subdivison by two men who fled into a green vehicle.
The witness told the jury Panday returned 30 minutes later.
She said she gathered the men’s clothing and they went to the laundromat, but “he just said he wanted to go home”.
Thompson said she didn’t agree to his request right away, as he appeared to be “a little upset”, but did so eventually.
“Did he say anything to you then?” the prosecutor asked. The witness said no.
She said she dropped him off and returned three hours later, but he still appeared “a little angered” when she gave him the car.
When asked if she had ever seen the man who ‘seeked’ at her again, Thompson said no.
She also confirmed that the accused is her daughter’s father and that they were in a relationship for two years..
During cross-examination, the witness first said she could not recall when she gave the police a statement, but then agreed it was while in police custody, when she was being questioned about the murder.
She agreed that police said she would be charged with murder if she did not give a statement. This, she said, made her feel intimidated.
During re-examination, Thompson confirmed she was never charged with murder.
Regarding her interview, she said: “I was telling them what happened, they said I was lying and the told me something else.”
Panday’s lawyer Calvin Seymour was given permission to ask the witness if she knew “a Valentino Bastian”. Thompson said she did, and she saw him at the convenience store that day.
She also clarified that she only went to the store once that day.
The prosecution then called Sgt 1406 Dwight Davis, the chief investigating officer.
He testified that on the day in question, he went to Malcom Road, saw a dead man lying on his back in the street, noticed blood smears on two vehicles near the body, and told an officer to photograph the scene.
The officer said that on January 28, he spoke and with Thompson and took a statement from her.
Davis said he recorded the session.
The officer said Panday was interviewed the following day.
Panday was asked a series of questions about Hepburn’s murder but denied knowledge or involvement, claiming he was at home at the time, the officer said.
The suspect was released pending further investigation, but in early April, Davis said he’d received information from Bastian and recorded his statement.
As a result, on April 3, Panday was again interviewed under caution and charged with murder.
The officer said he interviewed Sylvester on April 7, who denied any knowledge or involvement.
Sylvester was also charged with murder.
In cross-examination, Davis said Bastian did not have to be brought to the Central Detective Unit, as he was already in custody in connection with another matter.
He said Bastian volunteered the information, and denied police forced him to make a statement or beat him.
The officer also denied that he didn’t care that phone records he requested never materialised.
Asked why Panday was not allowed to confront his accuser, the officer said: “Valentino didn’t want to face him,” adding that Bastian was scared because Panday was a “violent person”.
The trial resumes today before Justice Charles.