By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE statement of a man who claimed to have witnessed the murder of an American sailor was read into evidence yesterday after unsuccessful attempts by prosecutors to locate him to give sworn testimony.
Corporal Dario Burrows testified that he sat in on the interview of Delano Smith concerning the police’s investigation into the May 12, 2013 fatal shooting of Kyle Bruner.
Justice Indra Charles had allowed prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister’s application for an investigator to read the unavailable witness’s statement into the record as an amendment to the Evidence Act in 2012 gave judges the discretion to allow the statements of witnesses who are dead, cannot be found, or are too sick to testify into evidence.
Mr Smith told police that around 11pm on May 11, 2013, he and a friend Stephen Lewis went to a party on Harold Road before going to Double D’s on East Bay Street for food around 2am.
He reportedly left his friend at the bar while he played in a poker game for about 45 minutes.
Mr Smith said a man known to him as “Rolly” asked him for some money and he gave him $7 before the latter walked out of the restaurant.
He and his friend Lewis walked out of the restaurant shortly afterwards when he saw ‘Rolly” standing next to a car across the street. Mr Smith claimed to have recognised the individual in the driver’s seat whom he called “Leo”, but could not make out the individuals in the back seat. “Rolly” then came over to him and said that someone would have to get robbed because “he was broke”.
His friend, Stephen, went to check on the food they had ordered while he went around the corner to relieve himself.
At this time, he saw “Rolly” get into the car and “Leo” drove off.
Mr Smith said on his way back to the restaurant, he heard a loud noise that sounded like gunshots and when he turned the bend, he saw “Rolly” attempting to snatch the bag of a white female and another slim, dark male approach another white female.
Mr Smith said “another white man” approached the “slim male” and pushed him. He said the “slim male” pulled out a gun and shot the man before taking off.
Mr Smith said after observing the two females and another white male standing over the body of the injured man, he went into the bar and told his friend they were leaving.
In cross-examination, Ian Cargill asked Cpl Burrows if Mr Smith had been a suspect in the shooting at the time.
The officer said he could not recall Mr Smith being a suspect, as persons giving witness statements were not considered suspects.
Mr Cargill suggested to the officer that Mr Smith was indeed a suspect in Bruner’s shooting. Cpl Burrows again said he could not recall.
Cpl Burrows also said that the interview at the time had not been video taped.
Attorney Nathan Smith asked the officer if the initial loud sound Mr Smith claimed to have heard would have preceded the single shot.
Cpl Burrows said this was Smith’s account to them at the time.
Leo Bethel, 21, Craig Johnson, 22, Anton Bastian, 21, Jamaal Dorfevil, 30, and 23-year-old Marcellus Williams are alleged to have murdered Bruner.
The American sailor had been working as first mate on the Liberty Chipper sailboat that was docked at Nassau at the time prior to being shot in the neck trying to help two women who were being mugged by two armed men.
The incident occurred on a Sunday morning.
The accused men are also alleged to have accosted two women while armed with a firearm, robbing one of $150 cash and her $3,000 handbag and the other woman of cash, a handbag and an iPhone.
The men are defended by Mr Cargill, Nathan Smith, Roberto Reckley, Sonia Timothy and Walton Bain.
The trial resumes today.