By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JURY was directed yesterday to acquit two of three men standing trial in the armed robbery and murder of a Bertha’s Go-Go Ribs employee.
Justice Vera Watkins’ directive to the 12-member jury stemmed from legal discussions held in their absence upon the conclusion of the Crown’s case against Wayde Rolle Jr, Leonardo Wright, and David Rolle concerning the September 8, 2009, murder of 44-year-old Nelson Goodman.
David Rolle and Wright, defended by lawyers James Thompson and Anthony Forbes, were unanimously acquitted due to lack of evidence to warrant the charges, The Tribune has learned.
Wayde Rolle Jr, meanwhile, is the remaining accused in the matter that is scheduled to resume on Friday.
Rolle Jr denies the allegations. He was charged under Section 291 (1A) of the Penal Code, Chapter 84.
A charge under this section attracts the discretionary death penalty that a Supreme Court judge can hand down if a jury returns a guilty verdict. Life imprisonment is the alternative punishment.
In Monday’s proceedings, the jury heard from police detective Inspector Derell Cox who denied defence counsel’s suggestions that Rolle Jr had been beaten into signing a confession statement and record of the interview, implicating him in Goodman’s death.
Prior to the prosecution closing its case, the jury heard evidence from prison physician Dr Heastings Johnson who presented the findings of another physician, now retired, that he had examined Rolle Jr on October 27, 2009, at the prison.
Dr Johnson said the physician, according to the medical report, found no visible external injuries or abnormal findings.
Lessiah Rolle, Wayde Rolle Jr’s lawyer, questioned why the physician saw his client some three weeks after being remanded.
Dr Johnson explained that most inmates are not seen the day after their remand unless there is an emergency. He also noted that the individual might have seen the nurse for a concern and not the doctor.
The lawyer asked the physician if he expected to see bruises or marks from suffocation after a three weeks period.
The doctor said that this was not likely, as marks from a plastic bag being placed over someone’s head could disappear after a short period of time.
Vernal Collie and Abagail Farrington are prosecuting the case.