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Man Cleared Of Killing Bertha’S Employee

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A NOT guilty verdict yesterday led to the acquittal of a third man standing trial into the armed robbery and murder of a Bertha’s Go-Go Ribs employee.

Wayde Rolle Jr left the Supreme Court after telling reporters he was “falsely accused of this crime” relating to the September 8, 2009, murder of 44-year-old Nelson Goodman.

Goodman was gunned down outside the Poinciana Avenue, Coconut Grove business after being robbed of $200 belonging to the company just before midnight.

Yesterday’s acquittal came five days after his co-accused Leonardo Wright and David Rolle, defended by lawyers James Thompson and Anthony Forbes, were unanimously acquitted of the same charges on the direction of trial judge Justice Vera Watkins.

Rolle Jr’s lawyer, Lessiah Rolle, told reporters that “justice was served” when the jury found his client not guilty of murder and armed robbery by the respective counts of 11-1 and 9-3.

“During the course of the trial, there was absolutely no evidence put forth to convict our client Wayde Rolle,” the lawyer said.

“The only evidence put forth would have been in the form of a confession statement, which our client said that he gave after he was badly beaten by the police. This was absolutely the only piece of evidence that allegedly connected our client with the scene and commission of the offence.

“Clearly the jury did not buy that and so hence, I think justice was served,” the lawyer added. “He’s free now. He’s an innocent man. He said he did not do the offence. We believed him and clearly the jury believed him as well. So clearly justice was served.”

During the trial, 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.

Prison physician Dr Heastings Johnson also testified on 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-week 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.

Rolle Jr took the witness stand and maintained that he had no knowledge or involvement in the incident. He claimed that police forced him to sign a confession he did not willingly give.

Vernal Collie and Abagail Farrington prosecuted the case.

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