By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JURY may visit a crime scene in Andros where the decomposed bodies of reported missing persons Shane Gardiner and Tishka Braynen were found 266 feet apart over two years ago.
The 12-member panel, hearing evidence in a trial concerning the disappearance and murders of the Department of Immigration officer and his girlfriend, made the request of Justice Indra Charles following the testimony of Constable Nelson Otin, who spoke of his arrest of former wanted murder suspect Terrel Mackey on December 24, 2013.
The visit is expected to take place tomorrow for a walkthrough of the events as described by various witnesses.
Constable Otin yesterday said he was on duty at the Kemp’s Bay police station on December 24, 2013, when he received information that led him and a team of officers to travel, by boat, to Mangrove Cay and arrest Mackey across the street from a house about which they had been tipped off.
Mackey was a former accused in the matter with James Johnson, 22, Cordero Saunders, 26, Daniel Coakley, 28, and Zintworn Duncombe, 28, who are on trial before Justice Charles facing two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and attempted armed robbery.
The victims of the crimes, allegedly committed between November 24, 2013 and December 21, 2013, were Gardiner and Braynen who were allegedly killed after a failed plot to take $8,000 gambling winnings from Gardiner.
Braynen, of Cargill Creek, and Gardiner, who lived in Love Hill, both in Central Andros, were reported missing around 1.45pm on November 24, 2013. Gardiner had recently been assigned to the island by his department in Nassau.
On December 21, 2013, police in Andros discovered the human remains of a man along with “items related to a female”. However, due to the state of decomposition at the time, police were unable to make an immediate identification of the remains.
DNA analyst Tracey Johnson testified via video link from Pennsylvania last week concerning a positive identification after DNA profiles on teeth submitted to the Fairfax Laboratory were compared to blood samples from the victims’ mothers, Alice Gardiner and Ingrid Braynen.
Other items of evidence were also submitted to the laboratory for testing against known blood samples from the defendants and other suspects. However, those results were inconclusive, Ms Johnson said.
The jury had also heard earlier testimony from Mackey, now a Crown witness, who said he witnessed his former co-accused Duncombe, otherwise known as “Scummy”, shoot both Gardiner and Braynen after the officer repeatedly denied that he had any money.
Mackey alleged that Duncombe questioned Gardiner about money at Newbold Farm, Andros, on November 24, 2013 before executing him and his girlfriend. According to Mackey, Duncombe believed that Gardiner had $8,000 to $9,000.
Duncombe’s lawyer, Ian Cargill, questioned Mackey about the circumstances of his release. But Mackey directed Mr Cargill to seek those answers from his former attorney, Raymond Rolle. Mr Cargill suggested to the witness that he was the culprit behind these crimes. Mackey, however, denied the suggestion.
The jury also heard the evidence of lead investigator in the case, Inspector Michael Johnson, who said that Duncombe, Coakley, Saunders, Johnson and Mackey were arrested and questioned about the murder.
Johnson said the defendants denied any involvement in the crimes and Saunders offered an alibi that he was in New Providence.
However, Saunders’ former girlfriend placed him in Andros on November 24, 2013, when the kidnapping allegedly occurred and so did an airline charter pilot, who said he had taken Saunders to the island.
Saunders, Johnson and Coakley are respectively represented by lawyers Moses Bain, Donna Major and Terrel Butler.
Darnell Dorsett and Patrick Sweeting are prosecuting the case. The case resumes today.