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Murder Suspect ‘Familiar’ With Man He Is Accused Of Killing

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A JURY heard yesterday of the familiarity between a banker and a man he hired to do maintenance work at his apartment who is accused of murder.

Royann Cooper told the court she was a housekeeper and had known murder victim Devince Smith for four years having done work for him at his apartment.

Asked by prosecutor Cordell Frazier if she knew the vehicle that Smith drove, Ms Cooper said a white GMC Jeep.

“Do you know a Lamar Albury?” the prosecutor asked.

The witness said yes, adding that she had known him for about three months.

“How often did you see him?” the prosecutor asked.

“About five times,” the witness said.

‘Where did you see him?” Ms Frazier then asked.

“Riding around with Devince Smith or at Devince’s apartment,” Ms Cooper said.

Albury, 26, sat behind his lawyer Michael Hanna as Ms Cooper gave her evidence.

It is alleged that Albury murdered Smith sometime between December 19 and 21, 2015. Smith’s partially decomposed body was found at his St Alban’s Drive apartment in western New Providence.

Police were alerted to the apartment after relatives, who had not heard from the victim, went to his home and found him dead in the living room.

Smith was a sports coach and was employed at Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd. He was also a former president of the New Providence Volleyball Association.

Albury denies the murder charge he faces.

“When was the first time you saw him (Lamar)?” the prosecutor asked.

The witness said she could not recall the specific date. “But I saw him a day he was fixing Devince’s furniture,” she said.

“And the other occasions?” the prosecutor asked.

“Riding around inside the Jeep drinking,” Ms Cooper said.

“On how many occasions did you see Lamar Albury at Devince Smith’s home?” the prosecutor asked.

“Three times,” the witness said.

Mr Hanna, the accused’s lawyer, offered no cross-examination for the witness.

Prior to the housekeeper being called, the jury heard testimony from crime scene detective Constable Leonardo Dean who said that on December 21, 2015, around 3.30pm, he went to the scene of an alleged homicide on St Alban’s Drive.

He was given information and instructions from a superior officer and when he went into unit six of the complex, he observed a deceased male clad in black shirt and blue jeans that were pulled down to his ankles.

The investigator said he also observed shoe impressions with suspected blood, blood on the walls leading upstairs, broken glass on the floor, items scattered across the master bedroom floor and a computer notebook covered in blood.

The detective said he photographed all of his observations and areas pointed out to him throughout the scene.

The jury also heard from Detective Corporal Davon Frazier who said that on December 23, 2015, he went to the Rand Laboratory and spoke with forensic pathologist Dr Caryn Sands. She conducted an autopsy of a man with multiple injuries to the head, neck, shoulder and extremities.

Cpl Frazier said he photographed the injuries of the deceased male and that the pathologist collected a tube of blood, a container of muscle tissue, liver and bone, an anal swab, a penile swab and an oral swab that she handed to him in a sealed biohazard bag.

The bag was handed over to the police forensics laboratory for analysis, the jury heard.

Also giving testimony was Charlene Smith, who said that she last saw her brother alive on December 6, 2015, after he came by her house and they chatted for a few minutes.

She said on December 21, 2015, she received a call and went to her brother’s condominium on St Alban’s Drive. She handed over her key to police and when they opened the door, she saw her brother’s body on the ground.

The witness, who became emotional, said she identified his body at the morgue the following day.

Mr Hanna asked the witness if her brother was ever married.

“No sir,” the witness said.

“He had any girlfriend?” the lawyer asked.

“Yes he did because he had a son,” the witness said.

“Did you know him at any point to be gay?” Mr Hanna asked. The witness said no.

On Monday, the jury heard that Albury allegedly confessed to his relatives that he fatally stabbed the victim who hired him to do maintenance work at his apartment before a holiday gathering when the victim allegedly made a sexual advance towards him.

The trial resumes today at 10am before Senior Justice Vera Watkins.

Anya Allen is assisting Ms Frazier in prosecuting the case for the Crown.

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