By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN has been cleared of allegations that he robbed a Domino's Pizza employee of her car, cash and cellphone while she was making a delivery eight years ago.
Justice Bernard Turner ordered that Charles Ingraham be acquitted of the October 8, 2011 armed robbery of Janet Higgs after finding he did not have a case to answer.
During trial, Ms Higgs testified that on the date in question, she was working the 12 noon to 8pm shift at Domino's Coral Harbour location. She said she ended up having to work a double-shift that day. While working, she said her manager asked her to make two deliveries.
The first of those deliveries was to a customer in the Bacardi Road area. Ms Higgs said before she left the store, she called the customer to let her know she was on the way and to be on the lookout for her.
Ms Higgs said she arrived at the residence shortly after 9pm. When she arrived, she said, the residence and the yard was in total darkness.
Ms Higgs said she blew her car’s horn to notify the customer that she was outside. However, no one came out of the residence. She blew her horn again, but still got no response. Ms Higgs said just as she was about to leave, she heard two voices saying: “We coming now”.
The voices belonged to two young girls, who both came running to her car. One of the girls went to the window on the driver’s side—the car was a left-hand drive vehicle, but Ms Higgs instructed her to go to the passenger’s side window because the driver’s side window wasn’t working.
The girl did as she was told, and when she got to the passenger’s window, Ms Higgs said she heard a man’s voice ask her how much was for the pizza.
Ms Higgs said the voice came from the right side of the car, but she couldn’t see him. She said at the time, she figured it must have been the girls’ uncle. The unknown man then said again: “Ya’ll have the money for the pizza?” Ms Higgs said when one of the girls answered in the affirmative, the man then ordered the young girl: “Ask her (Ms Higgs) how much for the pizza”.
The young girl did as was told, and Ms Higgs told her the pizza cost $25. Ms Higgs said the man then said: “Ya’ll have the money? Pay her for the pizza”. After the young girls paid Ms Higgs, the man then said: “Wait, open up the box”.
After one of the girls did so, the man ordered: “Ya’ll go back upstairs”. The girls consequently ran, and just as Ms Higgs was about to pull off, she noticed another man standing by the driver’s window. That man, she said, was about 5’9” tall, of slim build, and had a t-shirt tied around the lower part of his face just below the nose.
That man then told her, with a “Haitian-Bahamian” accent: “Don’t look at me. This a f-----g robbery.”
Ms Higgs said she got a glimpse of the person who said that. She explained that when the remark was made, she bent her head down, but in doing so looked through the corner of her eyes to get a good look at the person’s face, which prompted his remark.
That person, a male, ordered her to start the car, which she did. However, Ms Gibbs said the man then told her: “No, get out the f-----g car.”
Ms Higgs said when she got out of the car, the man asked her: “Hold on, where your bag?” Ms Higgs said she replied by telling the man her bag was in the back seat of the car. Then, she said he asked where her cellphone was, to which she replied by telling him it was in her bag.
Afterwards, the man put a gun to Ms Higgs’ head and ordered her to “break off running” before he “let off a shot”. Ms Higgs did as she was told, and shouted after the girls: “Ya’ll wait for me. I get rob!” She also said she shouted out for someone to call the police.
Meanwhile, Ms Higgs said the other man that was on the right side of the car said: “She ain’t running fast enough” before warning her: “Speed up before I let off a shot”.
Ms Higgs said she got even more afraid and ran inside the young girls’ house, where she instructed them to notify the police of her being robbed at gunpoint. One of the girls subsequently opted to call her brother and tell him Domino's got robbed.
Meanwhile, the armed robber sped off in the car she was driving.
Meanwhile, Ms Higgs said she started dialing 919, but couldn’t get through. She tried calling her workplace, but got the same result. Nonetheless, the police eventually came, and Ms Higgs gave a statement in relation to the matter.
A week later, police called Ms Higgs to the Central Detective Unit (CDU), where she picked out Ingraham on a nine-man lineup as the man who held her at gunpoint. And to be sure he was the one who held the gun on her, Ms Higgs said she asked each of the participants to say “get out of the f-----g car” to hear their accent.
During cross-examination by defence attorney David Cash, however, Ms Higgs was challenged on the likelihood of her being able to get a good look at the robber’s face, given the lighting at the time, the way she was positioned in the car when the robber set upon her, and the fact that the man had something covering the lower half of his face.
It was revealed that Ms Higgs never looked in the robber’s eyes, nor did she look at his nose. And with her admission that she asked for the participants of the lineup to say “get out of the f-----g car”, Mr Cash said that was proof that she wasn’t entirely sure of how the person looked, and needed to hear that person’s voice in order to positively identify him.
Mr Cash said if she was so confident in how the person who robbed her looked, there would have been no need for her to ask that question.
Ingraham was eventually acquitted at the no-case submission stage of the trial.