By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SUPREME Court jury heard yesterday how a licensed shotgun owner shot a man moving around his property after he was disturbed during his early morning devotions.
Detective Corporal Mark Penn told a nine-member jury that after interviewing Robert Gaitor in the presence of his lawyer and a fellow police officer, he received further information and instructions that led him to charge Gaitor with attempted murder a number of hours after the incident.
Gaitor, 46, of Cowpen Road denies the attempted murder charge. He is accused of trying to kill Valentino Yestan around 5am on July 14, 2012.
Gaitor is defended by lawyer Terrel Butler. Kristan Stubbs is prosecuting the case.
Yesterday, Mr Penn said on the same day of the incident, he received information from a superior officer who handed him a Maverick 12-gauge shotgun.
The officer said he went to the Carmichael Road Police Station where he picked up Gaitor and took him to CDU to conduct an interview under caution around 6pm.
Gaitor told the officer that he owned a shotgun and when asked if he shot Yestan, Gaitor said he wished to give a statement under caution. The man did not sign the record of interview, the officer added.
Mr Penn said Gaitor was cautioned a second time before being allowed to give his statement. He said Gaitor told him of his morning devotions being disturbed around 5am that day by a loud sound.
Fearing that someone had broken into his house, Gaitor told the court that he loaded his licensed shotgun, looked out of the kitchen window, but saw no one. When he went outside, he spotted a man in a white t-shirt and dark trousers with an object in his hand who appeared to be looking inside the window of his tenant’s unit.
Gaitor shouted “Hey!” at the unknown man who turned to him and started approaching. Gaitor said he ordered the man to “stop” three times, but the man continued moving forward before he fired a single shot in the unknown man’s direction.
The man turned, ran and jumped over the fence into a neighbour’s property and Gaitor, who said he was in fear at the time, secured his shotgun before going next door to ask his neighbour to contact the police.
He said he saw the same unknown man lying on the ground with an ankle monitoring bracelet on his leg and another device that appeared to be a charger.
Gaitor reportedly told Mr Penn that he was in fear for both his life and that of his tenant.
The CDU detective said he later charged Gaitor with attempted murder after receiving further information and instructions.
In cross-examination, Mrs Butler asked the officer if he knew her client was a licensed holder of a firearm. Mr Penn said he recalled seeing a license in Gaitor’s name.
The lawyer asked the officer if he recalled her client saying that he feared for his life when he shot the complainant. The officer said he did and further agreed that her client did advise the complainant, on more than one occasion, to “stop”.
Mrs Butler asked the officer if any tests were conducted for fingerprints on the door or Gaitor’s property. However, the officer said he could not answer that.
The trial resumes today before Justice Bernard Turner.