Officer Denies Lawyer's Claim Of Shoddy Police Work In Murder Case


Tribune Freeport Reporter


A LEAD police investigator denied in court yesterday that the investigation into the brutal murders of a Deadman's Reef couple was shoddy police work.

Det 772 Lorenzo Johnson's handling of the investigation was brought into question by Geoffrey Farquharson, a lawyer for one of the accused, during cross-examination on Wednesday in the Supreme Court.

At times, there were disparaging exchanges between the attorney and the officer, who were advised by the judge of their improper conduct in court.

Mr Farquharson directed Det Johnson to various photographs that were taken by police inside the residence of Barry and Sheena Johnson following their deaths on September 12, 2015.

The couple had been shot and robbed of their truck and a set of keys. Mr Johnson was discovered on the ground outside the front of the residence with a wound to the head, and Mrs Johnson was in the living room, with an injury to her right wrist and head.

Five men were initially charged with the murders and armed robbery of the Johnsons. Paul Belizaire, Devaughn Hall, and Kevin Dames are on trial, while two of the men, Allan Alcime and Virgil Hall, were convicted only of the armed robbery after accepting plea deals and testifying as witnesses for the Crown.

During cross-examination, Mr Farquharson asked Det Johnson about the two cellular phones found at the residence.

According to the detective, the cellular phone found on the floor in the couple's bedroom was damaged and belonged to Mrs Johnson.

When he asked how he knew it was her phone, the detective said one of the accused men said he had knocked it from her hand after confronting her in the master bedroom.

Det Johnson said that he and his team attempted to turn on the phone, but it was damaged.

"Would you say that the cell phone contained important information?" asked Mr Farquharson. "Possibly," replied Det Johnson.

The lawyer then accused the detective of being negligent in his duty by not having the phone repaired and examined, and by failing to obtain a log of the calls and messages from the telephone company.

Det Johnson said he had officers in the police force's IT section check into repairing the phone, and that a request was also made to the phone company for the cell phone records.

When asked whether he had received a written report from the IT section on its findings, Det Johnson said he did not.

When asked about the phone records, Det Johnson said that he did not receive any phone records from the phone company.

"I put it to you that you could have gotten a subpoena for those records; that phone could have been a key to this case," suggested Mr Farquharson, who said Mrs Johnson had made three calls to her husband the night of the murders.

Det Johnson explained that the request was made to his superior Supt Lloyd, the officer in charge of CDU, who would then make a request to the commissioner of police.

Mr Farquharson asked if he knew whether the commissioner of police had requested the cellular phone records. The witness said that he did not know whether the commissioner had talked to the phone company.

Det Johnson said that Mr Johnson's Samsung phone was also turned over to the IT section, where an Inspector Grant and his team checked and examined it.

Mr Farquharson asked the detective if he had received a report from the IT section concerning Mr Johnson's cellular phone.

"No, sir," he replied.

Mr Farquharson then suggested that potentially vital information was lost, and had indicated that the absence of phone records amounts to "slack" police investigation.

"You never tried to see who called him in the hour before he died?" Mr Farquharson asked, who indicated that there was evidence given in court that Mr Johnson was at Bruno Parker's house when his wife called him.

The lawyer stressed that Mr Parker was the last person to see Mr Johnson alive before he went home.

Det Johnson said that on searching Mr Johnson's phone they were able to confirm that Mrs Johnson had called her husband.

Mr Farquharson then questioned whether Det Johnson had made inquiries into Mr Johnson's finances at the bank.

Det Johnson stated they did not have any information that Mr Johnson did anything illegal.

The trial resumes today.

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