By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A janitor and her friend both told police they did not know teenage mother Breanna Mackey was being stabbed to death by their other friend until it was too late, jurors heard yesterday.
Sergeant Makelle Pinder said both Zaria Burrows and Dervinique Edwards told her they thought Thea Williams was “punching” the 19-year-old victim when in fact she was repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife.
Sgt Pinder said Burrows, in particular, said she only realised Mackey was stabbed after Williams got back in her car after the January 2018 attack and told her and the others: “Look at all this blood on my knife”.
Sgt Pinder said both women denied any involvement in the attack, claiming they observed Williams and their other three friends assault Mackey while they were seated in Burrows’ silver Honda.
However, Sgt Pinder said Burrows told her that at one point, she contemplated stepping in to stop the savagery, but ultimately decided otherwise.
“I parked the car, then I jump out to stop the fight,” Burrows was quoted as saying.
“I didn’t reach close to the fight; that’s when my mind tell me to get back in the car.”
The evidence was presented during Burrows’ and Edwards’ trial over allegations they murdered Mackey on January 25, 2018. According to the evidence, Mackey was killed because five girls who were supposed to be her friends wanted her to pay for a broken $80 Huawei cellphone that belonged to one of them.
According to reports from police, shortly before 6pm that day, police control room was contacted about reports that a female was stabbed about the body in the Key West Street area off Cordeaux Avenue. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
Upon their arrival, a woman who was identified as the victim’s sister, Latisha Woodside, directed officers to a brown and white apartment complex on the eastern side of Key West Street. On the porch, just in front of door number nine, officers discovered Mackey, semi-conscious, lying face down and suffering from four stab wounds to the upper back and two stab wounds to the right arm.
Mackey, who had turned 19 the day before, was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital where she died around 8.28pm.
According to the record of interviews of both women, conducted two days after the incident, Burrows was driving her car in the area of Key West Street with Williams, Edwards, Davanya Lawes, Yolika Domesle aka “Gabby”, and Matia Sylverain as passengers when Williams spotted Mackey.
Edwards said when Williams spotted Mackey, she started saying “see Breanna, see Breanna on the corner”, before asking Edwards to open the car door and let her out. Edwards said her door wouldn’t open, so Williams exited via the opposite door.
Domesle, who was seated in the front passenger seat, subsequently exited the vehicle and threw a bottle at Mackey that ended up hitting her in the face.
Burrows said after that, Mackey’s older sister, who according to the evidence was Nafetera Brown, consequently told her to run, which she did. Williams and the others gave chase.
Burrows said Mackey ended up running in a yard and called out the name “Justin”. While fleeing however, Mackey slipped and fell in some mud, according to Burrows. When Mackey slipped and fell, Williams then grabbed her by the head and “to me what it look like punching her up”.
Edwards, in her interview, said she saw when Williams “snatched” Mackey, and said she thought she was punching the victim. However, she said when Williams drew back her hand, she realized she was brandishing a knife.
When asked how many times she saw Williams stab Mackey, Edwards replied: “All I know is a lot, I couldn’t keep up”.
“That’s when I told Zaria ‘she jooking her’, let’s go around here,” Edwards said in her interview.
While that was happening, Sylverain was kicking Mackey, while Lawes was running in the road as if she was making a beeline for Mackey. However, Williams had since stabbed Mackey, and so Lawes ran back to Burrows’ car.
The other girls eventually made their way to the car, which was when Burrows realised Williams had a knife on her the entire time. After Williams drew all of their attention to the bloody weapon, Burrows consequently ordered her to throw the knife out of her car. Burrows then dropped the girls off at their respective homes.
Edwards, however, said she did not stay home after the incident, and went “riding out Gambier” with Burrows, Williams, Domesle, Lawes, and Sylverain after the incident.
Burrows meanwhile, said after the incident, she picked up her girlfriend and went “riding looking for something to eat”. It is was only when she dropped her girlfriend off that she discovered that Mackey had died.
Burrows subsequently drove to Lawes’ mother to ask her if she would accompany her to the police station. When they got there, officers from the Central Detective Unit (CDU) asked her about the whereabouts of “the rasta fellow”. In response, Burrows said the “rasta fellow” was her, and that she was the one who was driving the silver Honda.
When asked if the group was driving around with the sole purpose of finding Mackey, Burrows said no. Burrows, as well as Edwards, also denied any prior knowledge that the other girls wanted to fight the deceased.
The pair also said they never heard Williams say she wanted to harm Mackey.
However, both women acknowledged that one of the other girls, Domesle, had a beef with Mackey that stemmed from an $80 Huawei cellphone, according to the evidence.
Edwards, in her ROI, said Domesle had a “problem” with Mackey because she (Mackey) broke Domesle’s phone and “promised to pay back for it”, which apparently never happened.
Burrows, meanwhile, explained in her ROI that Mackey’s and Domesle’s “situation” stemmed from an iPhone 6. She said that on an unspecified occasion, Mackey told Williams to tell Domesle to go by her mother’s house to get $50, allegedly for the phone’s repair. However, Burrows said when she and the other girls went to the house, Mackey’s mother told Domesle that she never authorised anyone to get the $50.
Burrows said Mackey’s mother and sister subsequently “started to run on” about the issue, and when she suggested that they “go deal with this in the police hand”, Mackey’s mother said “ya’ll could go to the police, I’ll be here waiting on the police”.
The case continues.
Dervard Francis represents Burrows. Eleanor Albury represents Edwards.
Cassie Bethel represents the Crown.