By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Crown is seeking the death penalty for a 24-year-old Rastafarian man who killed a teenager in his Woods Alley neighbourhood as part of gang warfare three years ago.
Prosecutor Racquel Whymms revealed that the Crown is seeking to have Jahmaro “Bingy” Edgecombe put to death for murdering 19-year-old Kenyari Lightbourne in July 2016. Edgecombe’s attorney, David Cash, meanwhile, is seeking to have a 30-year sentence imposed on his client, which represents the lower end of the 30 to 60-year sentencing range for murder offences.
Their submissions came after a probation officer’s report revealed that Edgecombe, also known as “Dr Google”, was “actively involved and affiliated” with the Dirty South Order (DSO) gang according to police, while the deceased was affiliated with the Mad Ass gang up to his death.
During trial, it was revealed that Edgecombe admitted to killing Lightbourne because of his gang affiliation when initially interviewed by then-Detective Constable Raphael Miller just three weeks after the incident in question.
In fact, Edgecombe said he was after Lightbourne and several other affiliates of the Mad Ass gang, namely “Spider”, “Eyes”, and “Kadi”, with the promise that he could be paid $8,000 for killing any of them. Lightbourne ended up being the one he shot and killed that day.
According to the probation officer’s report, however, Edgecombe has since referred to the deceased as his “friend”.
When Edgecombe’s mother probed him about whether he actually committed the offence sometime after the incident, Edgecombe was said to have replied: “Why would I kill my friend?” However, Edgecombe’s mother could not say whether the two shared any form of friendship.
The revelations were made during the sentencing phase of Edgecombe’s court matter before Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson concerning Lightbourne’s death on June 21, 2016.
On that date, Lightbourne was shot multiple times as he walked through his neighbourhood off Market Street. He died at the scene.
Edgecombe said on the morning of June 21, 2016, he was “looking for affiliates” of Lightbourne and the Mad Ass street gang and that he was in the area to “take out a hit”. When asked to specify what he meant by taking out a hit, Edgecombe replied: “To commit a murder that I would be paid for.”
He said on that morning, he saw both Lightbourne and “Eyes”; the latter was near an abandoned building while Lightbourne was on Market Street walking through Woods Alley. Edgecombe agreed with assertions from D/C Miller that when he saw both men, he was hiding through a shortcut.
Edgecombe said when he saw Lightbourne, he did not call out his name to get his attention. Instead, Edgecombe said he simply approached Lightbourne and shot him three times with a chrome 40-calibre handgun. Afterwards, he said, he ran onto Baillou Hill Road and caught a bus into the Pinewood area so he could “get paid”.
The gun he used was on his waist during his entire commute from the Woods Alley area to Pinewood, Edgecombe admitted. He said he ultimately sold it to a guy from the Chippingham area who goes by the name of “Mob”.
And after killing Lightbourne and cashing in on his reward, Edgecombe told police he “paid off some bills” with the $6,000 in blood money he was paid for the crime and distributed the rest to family members.
During the sentencing proceedings, Ms Whymms called for the death penalty to be imposed on Edgecombe, as she submitted that his actions were “heinous and depraved” and were committed “for no other reason than to make money”.
The prosecutor also submitted that in committing the act, Edgecombe displayed how “cold” and “heartless” he really was. She said Edgecombe merely “saw a way to make some quick money” and capitalised.
And in doing so, the prosecutor said Edgecombe not only displayed a wanton disregard of the law, but also the sanctity of life itself.
Ms Whymms referred to the probation officer’s report to substantiate her assertions in reference to Edgecombe’s character, which revealed that the young man showed violent tendencies from his childhood days.
The probation officer’s report revealed that Edgecombe was considered an “uncontrollable child” while enrolled at the H O Nash Junior High School, which he dropped out of in the ninth grade with a grade point average of 0.80.
While in school, Edgecombe was said to have stabbed a female student in the head with a pen, causing an immediate suspension. Additionally, for the last three years of his academic life, he was cited for infractions such as unacceptable behaviour; disruptive behaviour in class; using obscene language; being unprepared for class; failure to work in class; skipping class; fighting, and being disrespectful to authority.
So “uncontrollable” was Edgecombe, that he was suspended from school on at least four occasions and referred to school psychological services on two occasions. Then, as a result of his “delinquent” behaviour, he was deemed “uncontrollable” and referred to the Simpson Penn Centre for Boys for 15 months until the age of 16.
Upon his discharge from the SPCB, Edgecombe did not finish his high school education. Instead, he eventually secured employment after his stint at Simpson Penn by working as an electrical assistant for four months. Then, he worked odd jobs in the construction field. In 2013, he worked in the Straw Market as a vendor for one year until he secured employment as a marine mammal specialist at the Atlantis resort in 2014.
However, Edgecombe’s troubles followed him all the way to his workplace, and he was cited for several infractions leading up to his termination from the resort.
Edgecombe’s termination, according to Ms Whymms and the evidence led during the sentencing proceedings, was due to him threatening Mr Ryan Dean, his supervisor at the time. Mr. Dean claimed that Edgecombe told him that if he ever saw him again he would shoot him.
For those threats, Edgecombe was fired and had to be escorted off the property by police officers. A picture of Edgecombe was also placed at a certain security booth at the Paradise Island resort in the event he ever returned.
Then, while incarcerated in connection with Lightbourne’s death, Edgecombe was said to have assaulted fellow inmate and murder-accused William Etienne on October 9, 2018. Edgecombe was accused of doing so along with Anthony “Peanut” Bethel, who is accused of murdering 21-year-old Georgette Rahming on May 26, 2015.
Both Edgecombe and Bethel were later discharged of the offence.
Meanwhile, Mr Cash submitted that notwithstanding the fact that the death penalty has not been carried out in the Bahamas in 20 years, Lightbourne’s murder does not inherently warrant such stiff punishment. He submitted that while Lightbourne’s death was unfortunate, there was nothing unique about the manner in which he was killed, as most murders in the country are the result of shootings.
Mr Cash said in order to be able to justifiably call for the death penalty, the Crown would have to satisfy the court that Lightbourne’s murder could be considered the “worst of the worst”, in pursuance of a 2011 amendment to the death penalty law by the former Ingraham administration to specify which murders would warrant execution. And that amendment was consequent to a 2006 ruling from the London-based Privy Council in the case of Maxo Tido.
Mr Cash argued that Edgecombe’s troubles could have been curbed had the necessary intervention taken place. He said while his client was referred to School Psychological Services on those two occasions, there is nothing on the record to show that any meaningful follow-ups were done.
Mr Cash regretted that there had not been any real intervention made in his client’s life to a satisfactory manner and the fact that the Crown is seeking the death penalty in the circumstances.
“So now, at 24 (years old), the only option is for the government to kill him?” Mr Cash questioned.
The case continues on January 29.
In 2006, the Privy Council abolished this country’s mandatory death sentence. The country’s last execution was carried out in January 2000, when David Mitchell was hanged for killing two German tourists.