By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE man who shot and killed Blair Estates resident Andre Cartwright during a home invasion five years ago is maintaining that he did not commit the crime.
Tiano D’Haiti is seeking to appeal a Supreme Court jury’s unanimous finding in 2018 that he was the culprit behind the October 2014 home invasion and murder.
D’Haiti, who is serving a near 50-year sentence for the crime, did not have a lawyer when he appeared before the appellate court, thus one was ordered to be appointed at the public’s expense.
The Crown is also seeking to appeal the acquittal of his former co-accused, Kevin Andrews, of his alleged role in the crime.
Although Andrews is a free man, another man, also named Kevin Andrews, was brought up from the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) in reference to that matter.
Notwithstanding the mix-up, the Crown could not say if Andrews was in fact served with its notice of appeal (NOA), meaning it could not proceed yesterday in any event. As a result the matter was adjourned to May 7. The court ordered that Andrews be served with the Crown’s (NOA) by that time.
D’Haiti, meanwhile, returns to court on April 11 for a mention hearing.
On September 25, 2017, a Supreme Court jury unanimously found D’Haiti guilty of the murder, attempted armed robbery and burglary, charges of which he was accused.
Months later, in April of 2018, Justice Renae McKay sentenced D’Haiti to 49 years in prison for the home invasion and murder. He was further sentenced to 25 years for attempted armed robbery, and another 20 for burglary, all to run concurrently.
However, after factoring in the amount of time D’Haiti spent on remand – two years, 10 months and 17 days – Justice McKay said D’Haiti will effectively serve 46 years, one month and 13 days in prison.
The sentences were ordered to run from the date of his conviction.
D’Haiti had previously stood trial with Andrews as the two accused in connection with Mr Cartwright’s death, both having been initially arraigned on November 11, 2014.
However, Andrews was acquitted by the jury on the instructions of Justice McKay after hearing submissions from lawyers for the accused and the Crown.
According to initial police reports, Mr Cartwright, 44, was at his Blair Estates home around 1.40am with his mother, Emma Cartwright, and father, Glenn Cartwright, when men kicked in the front door of the house.
When he heard the noise, Cartwright got his licensed shotgun and went to investigate, police reported. He encountered the three suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun.
There was a brief exchange of gunfire, which resulted in Cartwright being shot multiple times. He died at the scene. One of the suspects was also shot, however, he and the other men escaped in a silver coloured Honda Accord.
During trial, Mrs Cartwright testified how the home invaders feigned being members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) in their attempts to burglarise their eastern New Providence home the night her son was killed.
She said she heard shouts of “police, police” from the other side of her home’s interior door, which was being bashed in, just seconds after her son, Andre, in a loud voice, commanded: “Stop! I have a gun.”
Mr Cartwright, meanwhile in an emotional testimony that invoked sobs from family and friends of the deceased in the courtroom, described how shortly after 1am he was awakened by loud “banging” and “crashing” noises coming from the direction of his home’s front door.
He said he made it out of his bedroom when he noticed the inner door was being pushed in. According to Mr Cartwright, the inner door separates the bedrooms from the rest of the house. He said he always locks that door before retiring for the night.
When it became obvious the inner door would be compromised, Mr Cartwright said he pushed his wife into the bedroom for safety. Mr Cartwright said his son then pushed him into the bedroom, and consequently got in between his parents and the compromised inner door.
Mr Cartwright said he heard a brief exchange of gunfire, and eventually came out of the bedroom to see his son Andre stumbling backwards into one of the doorways on their side of the inner door. He said he noticed that his son was in “distress” and holding his chest.
Mr Cartwright said he tried to resuscitate his son, but he had already died.
Mr Cartwright said he sat on the bathroom floor with his dead son in his lap for an unknown amount of time, before going out the front door, falling on the grass and sobbing until his son’s body was taken away.
A police officer also testified during trial how D’Haiti presented himself to the Accident and Emergency Room at the Princess Margaret Hospital suffering from an injury shortly after the incident in question occurred.
Officer Dawkins said D’Haiti showed up at the hospital in a silver coloured Honda vehicle being driven by a woman. Upon pulling up at the hospital, D’Haiti jumped out, bareback and told him he had been stabbed.
The officer said he did not actually see the wound because D’Haiti had his hand covering the injury, which he claimed was on the left lower side of D’Haiti’s torso.
Nonetheless, he said D’Haiti was rushed inside by nurses and taken to the emergency room. Dr Dervin Kemp, a senior house officer at PMH, later told the court that upon examining D’Haiti in October 2014, the convict was found to have sustained a gunshot wound to his left lateral chest.
Nonetheless, Officer Dawkins said he later saw D’Haiti in the emergency room, and cautioned and arrested him. The female driver was also later cautioned and arrested, he said.
The female driver turned out to be Shecoya Davis, who, during trial, said she never would have taken D’Haiti to the hospital had she known the gravity of the matter of which he would later be convicted.
She said the decision to take D’Haiti to hospital was largely impulsive in nature, and was made after Andrews knocked on her door between the late hours of October 27 and early morning hours of October 28, 2014 and asked her to take him to PMH.
“If I had known, I would’ve never, ever even drove my car to the hospital with him,” she told the court.
Meanwhile, Police Detective Sergeant Sherwin Braynen testified D’Haiti told him while he was one of five men who visited Cartwright’s home on October 28, 2014, he stayed in the car while the other four, inclusive of Andrews, forced their way into the Cartwright residence.
According to Det Sgt Braynen, who was attached to the homicide division of the Central Detective Unit (CDU) at the time of the incident, D’Haiti made his statements on October 31, 2014 while in PMH suffering from a gunshot wound.
However, Crown prosecutor Kendra Kelly, assisted by Destiny McKinney, referred to D’Haiti’s confession to Sgt Braynen as his attempt to “minimise” his involvement in the matter.
Ms Kelly further pointed out the significance of the circumstances behind D’Haiti’s attempted armed robbery charge, suggesting that Cartwright by shooting his gun in defence and wounding D’Haiti, likely foiled what could have been an armed robbery.
“If he had not been shot, he might have gotten away with it,” she said at the time.