By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Crown's key witness in a murder trial had more of a grudge to bear against the deceased or his older brother as opposed to the accused in the matter, an attorney for the accused argued yesterday.
Jamean Johnson is charged with abetment to both murder and attempted murder concerning the death of veteran trade unionist John Pinder's youngest son, John Pinder Jr, and the shooting of another man.
David Cash charged that based on the evidence, Crown witness Delano Miller actually had more reason to exact harm on John Pinder Jr than his client.
Mr Cash based his argument on Miller's admissions while on the witness stand that he "didn't really like" Johnson, as well as evidence that Miller had two fights with Pinder Jr's older brother Javon Pinder about a month before the younger Pinder's death. The court also heard Javon Pinder is friends with Johnson.
Additionally, Mr Cash relied on evidence from Lashon Bastian, which showed how Miller and Pinder Jr "didn't have any kind of friendship," with the dynamic being more of a "bully scene."
Additionally, Bastian said Miller and Javon Pinder, also known as "Bobo", were not friends, as "they could never see eye to eye." And that assessment of their friendship, Bastian said, was based on the altercations the two had prior to his friend's death.
Bastian said Johnson, Pinder Jr, and Javon Pinder were close friends, and had an almost "every day routine" where they would hang out Monday through Sunday. The witness dismissed the suggestion that Johnson would wish harm on either of the Pinder brothers.
On August 29, 2016, Pinder Jr, also known as "Fats", was shot and killed by unknown assailants in his Hillside Park home while playing video games with his older brother and several other male friends.
Pinder Jr was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene. Kerrigan McCoy was also shot. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance and treated for his injuries.
Johnson is charged with abetting unknown persons to murder Pinder, and abetting unknown persons in their attempts at killing McCoy.
Miller, when he took the stand, said he witnessed a car pull near the Pinders' residence on the night of the murder.
According to Miller, he lives about two houses down from the Pinder residence.
Miller said two men got out of the vehicle -- one from the front passenger seat and the other from the back-passenger seat behind the driver, who remained in the vehicle. The two men, who had hoodies over their heads, went to the empty lot on the side of Mr Pinder's yard and went over the gate.
Shortly after that, Miller said he heard about four or five gunshots coming from the yard.
However, Miller did not report the incident to the police the night of the incident question, according to the evidence. And neither did he call or go to the police to report the matter the following morning.
Instead, Miller said days later on the 30th, he was questioned by police, who came to his door making inquiries about the murder. He was taken to the Central Detective Unit (CDU) for that purpose, and did not go willingly.
Around 3.55pm on September 1, the witness said he identified Johnson in an identification parade at CDU.
While there, he said he was also shown a number of vehicles, and identified Johnson's red Explorer as the vehicle in question.
Miller, in giving his evidence, said he felt like he was being arrested, but said police didn't handcuff him. However, he said he was placed in a cell.
When questioned by Mr Cash, Miller said officers did not allow him to leave their custody until he gave a statement saying Johnson was the driver of the vehicle he said he saw. He said it wasn't until he identified Johnson during the identification parade that they let him go.
Miller also said he felt under pressure during the time he was being interrogated, and felt like the police wanted him for the murder. However, Miller, in response to a question by Mr Cash, said all of that "pressure" relieved itself after he gave police the information concerning Johnson.
In making his closing address to the 15-member jury, Mr Cash brought their attention to a portion of Miller's evidence when he said he knew police would come looking for him in connection with Pinder Jr's murder because of the two altercations he had with Javon Pinder a month prior.
Thus, Mr Cash suggested to the jury that evidence of the two altercations suggests that if it was anyone involved in the matter who would have harboured animosity towards the deceased or his older brother, it would have been the Crown's main witness.
According to the evidence led at trial, both Johnson and Miller were drug peddlers, and according to Miller's evidence, Johnson, also known as "Debo," had his "own block" in Monastery Park.
However, when questioned by Mr Cash if Johnson was selling more dope than himself, Miller replied by saying: "Debo was, because I was only selling it for like almost a year and he was running his shop for years."
Thus, Mr Cash submitted that with Johnson incarcerated in connection with Pinder's murder, allegedly the result of the information Miller gave to police, the latter was thus free to sell drugs without having to worry about the threat of Johnson's competition.
The matter continues tomorrow with the Crown's closing address. Stephanie Pintard and Camille Gomez-Jones are the prosecutors on record for the matter.