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Man Found Not Guilty Of Murder During Hurricane

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A JURY returned majority not guilty verdicts for a man accused of murdering an elderly woman during Hurricane Sandy.

Omar Miller, Jr, 22, was being retried before Justice Carolita Bethell concerning the October 25, 2012 fatal shooting of Viola Mae Smith-Sands of Eneas Street.

He was charged with murder, possession of an unlicenced firearm and possession of ammunition. The jury acquitted him on all three charges with 9-3 verdicts after more than two hours of deliberation.

Miller Jr, who shared words with his lawyer Calvin Seymour, appeared relieved. The justice told him that a release order would be prepared for him at the prison.

Smith-Sands was shot and killed in her bedroom when an armed assailant opened fire through her window around 8.50pm that night.

The jury heard from Sergeant Sonny Miller that he interviewed the accused on November 13, 2012, when Miller Jr allegedly told police he had intended to shoot a relative of Sands who he had been told had a “hit” on him.

Miller Jr allegedly told the officer that he and a friend went to the home on Eneas Street where he saw a figure in bed and believed it to be their target.

He and the friend allegedly fired through the window, but the following day, he learned that an old woman had died. He allegedly told the officer that his actions were not intentional.

However, Miller Jr contends that the alleged confession statement the Crown relied on was obtained under duress and police brutality. There was medical evidence that Miller Jr suffered a dislocated shoulder during the time he was in police custody.

Miller Jr faced between 30 and 60 years imprisonment if convicted of murder.

Basil Cumberbatch and Aaron Johnson prosecuted the case.

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