By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN claimed yesterday that officers squeezed his testicles and suffocated him with a plastic bag to get him to confess to killing another man in furtherance of a murder plot stemming from gang warfare three years ago.
Jahmaro “Bingy” Edgecombe, taking the witness stand before Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson, said he was “tortured” by police officers at the Central Detective Unit (CDU) to get him to admit to shooting Kenyari Lightbourne to death on June 21, 2016.
However, Edgecombe said the officers who threatened and manhandled him told him they didn’t really want him; they were more interested in him implicating the “big fish”, namely Sean “Fire” Brown and Daran Neely.
And for that reason, he said officers forcibly instructed him on what to say during his record of interview, and also instructed him on what to do and say when they would ultimately record a video of him showing them exactly where and how he allegedly committed the crime.
Edgecombe also said officers tried to use allegations that he shot at the police prior to Lightbourne’s death as leverage in the situation by saying they would drop those charges against him if he cooperated with their scheme.
The revelations were made during Edgecombe and Brown’s trial before Justice Grant-Thompson into Lightbourne’s death.
Neely and Edgecombe were arraigned within months of each other in 2016 in connection with Lightbourne’s death. Brown was charged with being an accessory after the fact.
The Crown claims that Neely authorised the hit on Lightbourne’s life because of his affiliation with the Mad Ass gang some days before the actual murder, and that Neely sent Brown to pay Edgecombe $6,000 for successfully executing the crime.
On Tuesday, however, Neely was acquitted by the jury at Justice Grant-Thompson’s directions.
During proceedings yesterday, Edgecombe claimed that on July 13, 2016, he was taken from the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) by Officers McKenzie, Seymour and Evans. He said as they left the BDCS, the officers told him they would lock him up in connection with Lightbourne’s murder.
Edgecombe said he denied knowing or killing Lightbourne. He said when he asked for his lawyer, Officer Evans, told him: “Ain’t no (expletive) lawyer ga save you today.” Edgecombe said Officer McKenzie subsequently said: “…We ain’t have to go through that today. He then shoot at the police, we ga get him to work with us.”
Edgecombe said he was taken to the CDU and led to the homicide section, where Officer Evans instructed him to sit in a chair. He said Officer Evans then asked: “You know where you (expletive) is today? Inside here, we is turn big men into canaries inside here. We is make them sing.”
However, he said, Officer McKenzie interjected and said, “No man, we ain’t got to go through that today. Let me talk to him.”
Edgecombe said the officers took him to another section of CDU, which housed the office of Officer Johnson. The officers instructed him to have a seat before Officer Johnson who told him he had something to show him.
Edgecombe said Officer Johnson showed him an “anonymous statement” that contained allegations that he shot somebody three times in the head with a .40 caliber firearm, before fleeing the Woods Alley area and fleeing onto Baillou Hill Road, amongst other things. Edgecombe said when he told Officer Johnson he knew nothing of those allegations, he made a phone call and officers took him back to the homicide section.
Edgecombe said when he got back in that section, he noticed a tall officer clad in all blue who identified himself as Officer Fernander. Two other officers dressed in the same blue fatigues were with him. Edgecombe said Officer Fernander asked him if he knew him, to which he replied no. Edgecombe said Officer Fernander then said: “You don’t know me and you shoot at my police?” Edgecombe said when he denied doing so, Officer Fernander asked him, “Why you kill Kenyari?”
Edgecombe said when he denied killing Kenyari, Officer Fernander then told Officer Evans: “Carry him upstairs.”
Edgecombe said Officer Evans consequently handcuffed him behind has back and placed shackles on his feet. He said he was then led upstairs to a conference room by Officer Evans and the two officers who were with Officer Fernander.
Edgecombe said once they were in the room, the officers instructed him to go to a corner, get down on his knees and face the wall. Edgecombe said he did as instructed, but when he faced the wall, he heard a taser go off. He said when he looked back to see what was happening, one of the officers in all blue said: “What the (expletive) you looking at? What you looking back for?” As a result, he said he turned to face the wall again. He said a black plastic bag was suddenly put over his head.
Edgecombe said when that happened, he immediately started pleading, “Sir, I ain’t do nothing, sir, I don’t know what ya’ll talking about.” However, he said the officer continued to apply “a lot of pressure” on the plastic bag. He said an officer told him, “You shoot at the police? You little punk!”
Edgecombe said he fell flat on the ground as a result of being suffocated. At that time, he said, one of the officers had a knee in his back, while another officer was squeezing his testicles and was also pressing his face against the floor. Edgecombe said he tried to wiggle free, but couldn’t, and went unconscious.
Edgeceombe said when he came to, the officers told him: “You think we playing with you inside here? We ga kill you inside here.” He said he pleaded for his life, and agreed to work with them.
“I was ready to do whatever,” he added. “I just didn’t want to die.”
Edgecombe said Officer Miller entered the room some five minutes later with a yellow folder in hand, and told him: “Bey, don’t waste my (expletive) time today, bey. I don’t play game, bey. We getting straight to the point today.”
Edgecombe said Officer Miller subsequently took an “anonymous statement” out of the folder and gave it to him to read. Edgecombe said after he read it, Officer Miller told him: “Bey, look here, we don’t really want you; we want the big fish them. We want Daran Neely and Sean Brown. This who we want. We just want you say these things on video, and we ga use you. We ga drop the charges against you what you in jail for now, we ga drop these charges, and we ga use you as a witness. You don’t even have to come in court.”
Edgecombe said Officer’s Miller and McKenzie then led him downstairs to the interview suite. He said Officer Miller opened the interview by asking him if he wanted a lawyer. But Edgecombe said when he replied in the affirmative, Officer Miller stopped the interview and said “let’s go”.
Edgecombe said they walked just outside the suite’s door where Officer Miller told him: “Bey we ain’t (expletive) playing with you today bey. I could go home to my kids and I could send you back up there with them police officers. I sure I could go home to my kids and you’d be leaving here in a body bag.”
Edgecombe said he submitted to the threats, and he and the two officers again proceeded to commence the interview, during which he confessed to killing Lightbourne, and in response to questions put to him by Officer Miller, outlined how he pulled it off. However, he said the information he gave to Officer Miller was given to him by Officer Miller himself and also was contained in the anonymous statement he saw earlier.
At the end of the interview, Edgecombe said he signed everything given to him because he “had to” because he was in fear for his life.
He said the officers then took him back to the homicide section, where Officer Miller told him: “One last thing I want you to do. I ga take you somewhere, and I ga show you something. When I show you this, I want you say this just like I show you this, and make eye contact with the camera.”
He said he and Officer Miller went to the scene of the crime, where the officer directed him on exactly what to say and what areas to point out for when they would record the actual video of him directing them to the crime scene.
Edgecombe said when he showed indifference to the plan, Officer Miller told him: “You think we playing with you aye? We then bring you from jail. I could say you escape. I could push you out this car and headshot you. Now what you ga do?”
The case continues.