By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TEEN accused of murder told police that 16-year-old Adonai Wilson accosted and punched him while armed with brass knuckles on the day he was killed.
But the accused teen alleged that he defended himself then ran away from the fight and did not see who fatally stabbed Wilson.
The teenager opted out of giving testimony under oath yesterday concerning the events that led to the death of his schoolmate.
The 18-year-old, whose identity has been withheld because he was charged as a juvenile, was asked by Justice Bernard Turner if he will remain silent in the face of the prosecution’s case or take the witness stand to give sworn testimony and be subjected to cross-examination.
“I’ll rely on the statement I gave police,” the accused said.
“In other words you’ll remain silent?” the judge said for clarification. The teen said yes.
“Are you calling any witnesses in your defence?” the judge then asked.
“He has no witnesses,” said defence attorney Murrio Ducille.
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.
Mr Ducille’s client, however, denies that he intentionally and unlawfully caused Wilson’s death on December 9, 2015.
Mr Ducille, in his opening address to the jury yesterday, stressed to that panel “the burden of proof on the prosecution is that they should satisfy you that he is guilty of anything and you must feel sure.”
“This young man has nothing to prove and his innocence has been exhibited to you already,” the lawyer said.
Mr Ducille was referring to the caution statement the 18-year-old gave when interviewed by police a day after the fatal stabbing.
The teen had told police of a confrontation he and Wilson had on December 8, 2015 but said they had resolved their differences amicably and he thought the incident was over.
The following day, after finishing exams, he and his friends were walking on Prince Charles Drive and noticed that Wilson and others were walking in the same direction he was on the opposite side of the street.
At some point, he said he was struck in the back of the head and the hood of his jacket was pulled. When he came face to face with his assailant, he said he saw Wilson armed with brass knuckles.
He alleged that Wilson proceeded to punch him and he defended himself before running away to escape the fight.
He denied stabbing Wilson or witnessing Wilson being stabbed.
Mr Ducille yesterday asked the jurors to be objective in their assessment of the evidence.
“This young man was walking from school. He didn’t know he would find himself here and young Adonai didn’t know he’d find himself elsewhere,” Mr Ducille said.
“If you objectively examine the facts, he’s a victim and shouldn’t be here.”
The teen’s defence lawyer also told the jury that they should not forget the evidence of the “sole independent eye witness.”
“When the first witness came and gave her evidence, she stated this young man was walking and that the deceased came and punched him in the back of the head,” Mr Ducille added. “He was alone when the fight started. The other two ran and came by and the deceased got injured. The law says we all have a right to defend ourselves or others. And if you’re walking on a road and see a fight going on, you can either walk by, call the police, or you can go yourself and assist.”
Mr Ducille said that the prosecution’s very first witness’ testimony corroborates his client’s statement to police which the prosecution themselves entered into evidence.
“No one has come to court to say otherwise,” Mr Ducille stressed. “This thing started from his defending himself.”
The lawyer also told jurors that his client could have been where Wilson is because brass knuckles have the capacity to kill as well.
The case is expected to resume on Monday, September 5, when Crown and defence counsel will make closing arguments.
Kristan Stubbs and Bradford McKenzie are prosecuting for the Crown.