By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JURY is expected to return a verdict today for the second of two half-brothers who stood trial in the beating death of a man in 2011.
Gary Leon, 27, told a jury that he was neither present nor responsible for the injuries Jason Brown received during a fight at the Needles Inn Bar on February 22, 2011. Brown died of the injuries five days later.
Leon’s brother, George Humes, was acquitted of the murder charge on Tuesday following the direction of Justice Vera Watkins.
Leon’s lawyer, Ramona Farquharson-Seymour told the jurors in a closing address that the Crown’s case “is just so weak and mixed up.”
“At Needles Inn Bar there was some type of altercation. This fight started in the restaurant and spilled on the outside where some 15 to 20 persons looked on. Jason Brown was hit to the head and reportedly stomped multiple times,” the lawyer said in summarising the Crown’s case.
“The pathologist Dr (Caryn) Sands said Brown died as a result of blunt force trauma to the brain but it is interesting to note that the Crown didn’t exhibit the pathologist report for your viewing in the deliberations,” Ms Farquharson-Seymour said.
The lawyer reminded the jury that: “Dr Sands could not say whether the force was because of a blow he received from a hit or a fall and there was evidence that Jason Brown fell to the ground.”
“She also said that had Brown been stomped 15-20 times as the Crown’s sole witness said, she would have expected to see more injuries. So we already have confusion with their case,” the lawyer said.
She said the police crime scene investigators were also not diligent as they only went to the alleged crime scene three weeks after the incident occurred.
“There’s no DNA evidence linking Gary Leon to Jason Brown. Brown was taken to the hospital all bloodied up but nothing was collected by the police. If you’re stomping someone and you hit someone, a footprint or some DNA will be left there. There’s nothing for you to look at,” the accused’s lawyer said.
“But yet they come before you with one witness, Joseph Neymour, who was in the bar from 3pm that day until 11.30pm when he claimed the fight took place. That is all they have, the words of a drunk man who wasn’t even aware of the time this incident occurred or the fact that police appeared on the scene,” Ms Farquharson-Seymour said.
She said police made no mention in the detention record of her client that they questioned Leon about gun-butting Brown who allegedly rebuked him for slapping a woman in the bar.
The lawyer said Mr Neymour’s claim that the incident took place at 11.30 that night contradicts the witness’ statements of Ashton Butler and Roselda Woodside, who were present that night and told police that the incident occurred sometime between 9pm and 10pm.
She said those statements, which Leon exhibited in his defence, tells that Brown was drunk and was harassing Butler and the accused’s twin, which led to a fight.
Ms Farquharson-Seymour also asked the jury to recall that Brown’s cousin, Natasha McGregor, also testified of witnessing the fight and that her evidence corroborated the statements of Mr Butler and Ms Woodside.
“Can you be sure that what Joseph Neymour has said to you is the truth?” the jury was asked.
In response, Crown prosecutor Quinton Percentie told the jury that Ms Farquharson-Seymour “missed out very salient points.”
He argued that if the full statements of Mr Butler and Ms Woodside, both minors at the time, were read, it would note that “there was an earlier fight but the incident before this court concerns the brutal murder of one of our citizens.”
Mr Butler’s statement, he said, mentioned the police breaking up a fight between Brown and other men in the area behind the establishment, as did Ms Woodside.
“But it was not that incident that caused the defendant to be here today,” Mr Percentie said.
The prosecutor said the crux of the Crown’s case relied on the evidence of Brown’s mother, Muriel Moxey, the pathologist, and Neymour’s testimony.
During the trial, Ms Moxey said she was at home on February 22 when her nephew, Raphael McKinney, came to her home with her son in the back seat of a car. She saw bruises on her son’s face and blood was coming from his head. He was unresponsive, so her husband called an ambulance and she rode with him to the hospital. She said she identified her son at the morgue on February 28.
“Dr Caryn Sands, you have her evidence. She said the direction of the blow to the head was inward to the left side of the cheek causing a depressed skull fracture of the face,” Mr Percentie noted, adding that a “very hard instrument had to have caused the injury.”
He said Mr Neymour’s testimony of Leon gun-butting Brown to the face is the final link.
“Neymour said he was shooting pool and admitted to having a drink or two. Two females were arguing, Leon got involved and slapped one of the women. Brown told Leon that he only was so tough when he had a gun on him. The defendant took out his gun and gun-butted the deceased and when Brown fell to the ground, Leon stomped him repeatedly. Neymour then said Gary Leon made a certain comment, ‘what’s taking you so long to dead?’” the jury heard.
Mr Percentie told the jury to apply their common sense to the evidence given from the witness box and have the courage to return a true verdict, which he said, would be the conviction of the accused.