By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JURY was shown an alleged “videotaped confession” of a man owning up to his involvement in the shooting of a senior police officer.
However, Excel Josey contends he was forced and “prepped” to give the confession to incriminate himself and Maurice Armbrister as the man who fired the shot in the late night attack on Supt Clayton Fernander outside his home moments after he pulled into his St Vincent Road driveway.
Both Armbrister, 23, of Faith Gardens and Josey, 21, of Balls Alley, face a charge of attempted armed robbery and attempted murder relating to the April 10, 2013 incident.
Armbrister was further charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition – a black and silver Smith and Wesson .45 pistol with 29 .45 bullets.
It is claimed that on the day in question the men, while concerned with others, attempted to cause the death of Supt Fernander. It is also claimed they tried to rob him while armed with a handgun.
Supt Fernander was shot multiple times in the arm and upper body when two masked, armed men confronted him shortly after he pulled up to his home in the St Vincent Road area.
Supt Fernander was armed at the time, but was not able to return fire.
Both men were arraigned in the magistrates’ court six days later when they were not required to enter a plea to the first two charges.
Armbrister pleaded not guilty to the firearm and ammunition charges.
On Monday, prosecutor Neil Braithwaite called Central Detective Unit officer, Inspector Hart, to the witness stand to inform the court about his involvement in the investigation in the case.
Inspector Hart said on April 12, 2013, he conducted a record of interview with Josey while in the presence of a colleague and said the then suspect owned up to his involvement in the case in question.
Hart produced a video recording and the court allowed the jury to see the interview that occurred at 9pm that day.
After declining his right to have an attorney present, Josey went on to tell police of what led to the late night accosting of Supt Fernander.
Josey, in the recorded interview, said he and Maurice were “chilling” in “The Grove” all day until around 8.30pm.
“Then we went home by Carmichael to pay the landlord for the apartment. After he (Maurice) pay the landlord, we went to go get our stuff. It was about 9.15(pm) or something when he (Maurice) said ‘let’s ride by Bamboo to get something to eat,” the jury heard and saw.
They went to Bamboo Shack on Soldier Road and pulled into a parking lot when a man pulled up in a burgundy Ford Explorer. When the man came walking in their direction, he (Maurice) “start saying ‘this our cover to bounce back for the money we just spend.’”
When the man got his food, he left and they followed him all the way to his home and saw the man pull into his garage, the court heard.
“I told him to turn around,” Josey said, going on to say that when they parked, he noticed a gun when Maurice exited the car.
“Then he ran up to the man quickly. At the time I was just coming out of the car and I heard a loud scream. And then I heard Maurice telling the guy ‘take the chain off!’” the jury then heard.
“At the same time, I was just approaching when I see the guy was trying to reach for something. Then Maurice shot him,” Josey said.
They ran to the car and noticed the man behind them with a gun in his hand and it was then that he realised the man was a police officer.
“When we reach home, that’s when I notice Maurice was checking his pockets and he told me that he drop the phone,” Josey also said.
Inspector Hart also told the court that Josey was voluntarily taken on a video inquiry where he gave them a play by play of the incident.
Yesterday, Josey’s defence attorney Jiaram Mangra, suggested to the officer “you had already devised this wicked scheme to incriminate him and the then suspect.”
The investigator disagreed with the suggestion.
Mr Mangra further suggested that police could carry out the said scheme because he didn’t have access to an attorney and they had “prepped” him for almost an hour prior to doing the record of interview.
“No sir,” was Inspector Hart’s answer to the suggestion.
Mr Mangra asked the officer if he had seen Fernander’s statement before doing the interview and the video inquiry.
“Yes sir, I did,” Hart answered.
“You recall when the statement was given or when you saw it?” the attorney asked.
“No sir, I can’t recall,” the officer answered.
Mr Mangra suggested to the officer that prior to taking his client on the video inquiry, he had already read the complainant’s statement as well as a statement from Maurice Armbrister. Officer Hart again said he could not recall.
The trial resumes today before Justice Carolita Bethell.