0

Accused 'Admitted Being At Crime Scene'

THE three men accused of the double murder and armed robbery – Kevin Dames, Devaughn Hall and Paul Belizaire – at an earlier court appearance. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn

THE three men accused of the double murder and armed robbery – Kevin Dames, Devaughn Hall and Paul Belizaire – at an earlier court appearance. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

ONE of three men accused of the murder and armed robbery of a Grand Bahama couple admitted to being at the scene of the crime with the other defendants, lead investigator Detective 772 Lorenzo Johnson told the Supreme Court yesterday.

Det Johnson said Paul Belizaire did not have an alibi the night a couple was robbed and shot to death at Deadman's Reef, Grand Bahama.

While giving evidence on Thursday, Det Johnson told the court that the accused admitted to being at the scene on the night in question with other co-defendants on September 12, 2015.

He denied suggestions by Geoffrey Farquharson, Belizaire's lawyer, that his client had an alibi and was at home with several family members at the time.

Barry and Sheena Johnson were discovered dead at their triplex apartment on the morning of September 13, 2015. Both had been shot in the head and robbed of a set of keys and their GMC truck.

Mr Farquharson asserted that armed robbery was not the motive, suggesting that it was an assassination.

Det Johnson insisted that the motive was armed robbery and that Mr and Mrs Johnson were murdered as a result.

Mr Farquharson asked: "How did Belizaire participate in the murder of the Johnsons; did he shoot anybody?"

Mr Johnson said that Belizaire did not shoot anyone, but was there with a gun along with the other accused men.

"Do you have evidence that he encouraged anyone, or agreed to shoot anyone?" Mr Farquharson asked.

"No," the witness replied.

"But the evidence is that Belizaire tried to stop the persons from being shot," suggested Mr Farquharson, referring to video surveillance footage.

Det Johnson indicated that the suspect identified as Belizaire in the video had made a hand motion.

"I put it to you that you have no evidence that Belizaire participated in any murder," said the attorney, who also suggested that his client had not stolen a set of keys or the truck.

The witness said Belizaire fled the scene in the stolen truck which was driven by co-defendant Allan Alcime as the getaway vehicle.

Mr Farquharson asked: "Did he give you any evidence that he agreed to steal any truck?"

"No," replied Det Johnson.

Mr Farquharson claimed the officer had beaten his client into signing the record of interview and police statement, but the witness said that it never happened.

At one point during the cross-examination, Mr Farquharson and Det Johnson had a heated exchange, with the lawyer asking the witness if he was threatening him after the officer made a remark about talking to him outside.

Mr Farquharson asked Justice Estelle Gray Evans for a second, and walked out of the courtroom during his cross-examination. Neil Brathwaite, the Crown prosecutor, said Mr Farquharson's conduct was improper and wanted the court to make a note of it.

However Mr Farquharson returned a short time later and continued his questioning.

He claimed that in the record of interview and police statement given by his client, Mr Johnson had arrived home and was shot with no attempt made to search the house for $2m, suggesting that it was an assassination.

Det Johnson said that two of the co-defendants had testified that they went inside and searched the house. He noted that Belizaire told him that he went there to get money and cocaine.

Belizaire, Devaughn Hall, and Kevin Dames are on trial for the armed robbery and murder. The trial continues on Friday.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.