Witness Says He Heard Suspect Admit Murder


Tribune Staff Reporter


TESTIMONY continued yesterday in a murder trial in which two men, sharing the same surname but not related, are accused of a fatal shooting in Masons Addition.

The Crown’s key witness, whose name is being withheld by the court’s order, told a jury of how he heard an admission by one of the accused that he had murdered Tristan Bartlett.

Tony Smith, 26, and Leroy Smith, 27, are on trial for Tristan Bartlett’s murder in February 2012. Both deny the murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of Bartlett, who was in the driver’s seat of a green Honda at the time.

Yesterday, the witness claimed to be very familiar with the deceased and Tony Smith, whom he also said went by the name of “Jamal.”

He said he only knew Leroy by his alias “Shaddy.”

He said he last saw Tristan Barlett alive on the night of February 7 when they were out riding before he was dropped off at a bar on East Street.

The witness told prosecutor Ms Darnell Dorsett that Bartlett was supposed to return for him, but never did. He went home and tried to contact Bartlett on his phone, but never got an answer.

The key witness further told the court that Bartlett appeared frightened before leaving the club.

At this point, the key witness said he no longer felt comfortable with continuing his testimony and had an explanation.

The explanation was given in the absence of the jury who was asked by Senior Justice Jon Isaacs to leave the courtroom.

After the short break, the witness continued his evidence that he saw “Jamal” at the funeral and then six days later at a bar on the corner of Lewis and East Streets.

The witness said he was walking through a shortcut next to the bar unnoticed by “Jamal” and claimed that he heard “Jamal” tell persons with him that he didn’t let “Shaddy” kill his own cousin, but that he (Jamal) did it himself.

The witness said a Yellow Elder tree obscured his view of “Jamal” but that he knew whose voice it was.

Under cross-examination, the witness was asked by lawyer Michael Kemp if “Shaddy” had told him that he didn’t kill Tristan and that his girlfriend vouched for him being with her at the time.

The witness answered that “Shaddy” told him this when he was locked up in the Central Detective Unit. He also admitted that he was in custody at the time, but only because he was a witness.

The witness denied that police beat or threatened him into giving his statement.

Mr Kemp suggested to the witness that he came to court to lie under pressure, but the suggestion was denied.

The witness was asked if he had ever been to the Attorney General’s Office. He said he was. He claims his most recent visit was nearly two weeks ago.

Mr Kemp asked the witness how many times police had arrested him in connection with the case. The witness said he was arrested three times.

The Smiths are represented by Murrio Ducille and Mr Kemp, while Ms Dorsett and Patrick Sweeting prosecute for the Crown.

Senior Justice Jon Isaacs is the presiding judge.

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