By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO men who were unanimously convicted by a jury last night of their alleged roles in the disappearances and murders of a Department of Immigration officer and his girlfriend in Andros could be sentenced to death upon their return to the Supreme Court for sentencing.
After more than six hours of deliberation, which included the 12-member panel’s return to Justice Indra Charles’ courtroom for additional directions on a criminal joint enterprise, Zintworn Duncombe, 28, and James Johnson, 22, were found guilty of murdering Shane Gardiner and his girlfriend Tishka Braynen. The victims’ decomposed bodies were found in Andros, some 266 feet apart, in December 2013.
While the jury returned not guilty verdicts for alleged murder accomplices Daniel Coakley, 28, and Cordero Saunders, 26, all four men were unanimously convicted of double kidnapping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and attempted armed robbery.
Crown prosecutors Darnell Dorsett and Patrick Sweeting informed the judge that the prosecution was seeking to have the death penalty imposed on Duncombe and Johnson, which would require the production of a psychiatric report and social inquiry report prior to sentencing scheduled for May 29.
Gardiner and Braynen were allegedly killed after a failed plot to take $8,000 in gambling winnings from the immigration officer. 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.
On December 21, 2013, police in Andros discovered the remains of a man with “items related to a female”.
Duncombe, Saunders, Johnson and Coakley, who all denied the allegations, were respectively represented by lawyers Ian Cargill, Moses Bain, Donna Major and Terrel Butler.