By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TEEN accused of murder may be called on today to give a defence to allegations that he had direct involvement in the fatal stabbing of schoolmate Adonai Wilson.
The 18-year-old, whose identity has been withheld because he was charged as a juvenile, denies that he intentionally and unlawfully caused Wilson’s death on December 9, 2015.
The accused, who does not bear the burden of proving his innocence, can choose to remain silent in the face of the prosecution’s case or he can take the witness stand to give sworn testimony.
He also has the right to call witnesses in his defence.
Last Thursday, two teens – aged 17 and 15 – who were also on trial for the murder of Wilson, changed their pleas.
The 17-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted guilt to the lesser charge of manslaughter. He received a sentence of nine years after the judge took into account his time spent on remand and the fact that he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Meanwhile, the 15-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted attempting to cause harm. He was given a sentence of six months to be served at the Simpson Penn Centre for Boys.
On Monday, Crown prosecutors Kristan Stubbs and Bradford McKenzie concluded their case against the 18-year-old with statements from two students who witnessed events leading up to Wilson’s stabbing, but could not be compelled by the prosecution to give sworn testimony in court.
One of the girls told police that on the day in question, she, the accused and his girlfriend left Popeyes heading east.
The accused walked ahead with a group of persons while she and his girlfriend followed behind.
She told police she noticed a commotion at the Superwash laundromat and noticed a fight between the accused and Wilson.
She ran towards the area where they were fighting and saw a teen, who she witnessed being given a knife by the accused when they were walking from Popeyes, run to and stab Wilson twice in the back before fleeing towards Fox Hill.
She then saw Wilson run across the street towards Blanco Bleach where he collapsed, while his friends followed behind.
The jury heard that the teen girl called 911 and while they waited for medical help to arrive, a friend of Wilson called out to the bleeding teen with no response.
In the second statement police received from another witness to the incident, the teen’s then girlfriend told police that on the way to their Wendy’s after leaving Popeyes, the accused met up with his 17-year-old cousin who was an 11th grade student at their school.
The accused, the witness told police, handed his cousin the knife when they both then went to opposite sides of the street.
She said shortly afterwards she noticed her boyfriend, the accused, and Adonai “throwing punches at each other but it appeared (the accused) was losing.”
It was at this time that the cousin ran up to and stabbed Adonai, according to the girlfriend.
The teen girl told police that she watched the victim run across the road to Blanco Bleach but did not know where the accused and his cousin went.
When she crossed the road as well, she saw Wilson on the ground bleeding heavily.
She and a group of persons remained there until police came.
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.
However, this action meant that the 18-year-old accused, and his lawyer Murrio Ducille, were unable to cross-examine the teen to verify the contents of the statement.