By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
In a lengthy opening address in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, a lawyer for one of three men accused of double murder insisted his client did not kill or rob the Deadman’s Reef couple found brutally murdered at their Grand Bahama residence in September 2015.
Attorney Geoffrey Farquharson, who represents Paul Belizaire, claimed the prosecution’s case is built on evidence by two dishonest “rats” who accepted a plea deal. He said no evidence was presented in court that his client committed any of the offences he was charged with, along with four others.
Belizaire and two other men, Devaughn Hall and Kevin Dames, are on trial for the murders of Barry and Sheena Johnson who were discovered shot to death on September 12, 2015. The couple’s GMC truck and a set of keys were also stolen.
The trio is charged with being concerned together and are facing two counts of murder and one count of armed robbery. Two co-defendants Alan Alcime and Virgil Hall took a plea deal offered them and pleaded guilty to armed robbery. The murder charges were subsequently withdrawn against the two men who are serving time in prison.
Mr Farquharson told jurors the armed robbery charge had not been proven by the prosecution, and claimed the evidence by the Crown’s witnesses was that they had gone to steal money and drugs.
There was never any agreement he said between his client with anyone to steal a truck or set of keys, or to murder anyone.
‘No money or drugs were found in the truck or house, and so that agreement had come to an end,” he explained.
He said the prosecution would have to prove there was an agreement between his client and others to use deadly force to the steal the truck and the keys.
Mr Farquharson claims there was no such evidence presented by the prosecution in court. However, he suggested there was evidence the Crown’s witnesses – Alcime and Hall – had committed armed robbery because they had taken the keys and the truck. He said Virgil Hall searched the house and Alcime searched the truck for the money and drugs. After none was found, the lawyer said shots were fired by someone and everyone scattered.
Alcime hopped in the truck, and the others followed, he said.
He said Belizaire did not want to get left behind.
“He (Belizaire) jumped in the truck to not get left at the scene where persons had been shot. He was a passenger in the truck, and there was no evidence of him stealing the truck,” Mr Farquharson said.
The lawyer further suggested the couple were not robbed of their truck and keys because they had already been shot.
About the murder charges, Mr Farquharson pointed out one of the four masked suspects the prosecution believed was his client was seen on a video surveillance footage trying to prevent the shooting.
“No matter how you feel or what you heard, he deserves the best justice you can provide to him,” Mr Farquharson said in his address to jurors.
Jethlyn Burrows represents Devaughn Hall and Carlson Shurland represents Kevin Dames. Neil Brathwaite and Erica Kemp of the Office of the Attorney General are the prosecutors. Justice Estelle Gray Evans is the presiding judge.
The trial resumes today with opening addresses from lawyers for the other accused men.