Murder trial under way


Tribune Freeport Reporter


FREEPORT - The murder trial of Dareo Smith is underway in the Supreme Court. The 19-year-old is accused of the stabbing death of Tamaro Johnson at a popular Freeport nightclub, in 2011.

Senior Justice Hartman Longley is presiding over the matter, which is before a jury of six men and six women.

Prosecutors Erica Kemp and Olivia Blatch appear on behalf of the Crown. Attorney Mario Gray represents Smith.

It is alleged that on March 6, 2011, Smith stabbed Johnson at Club Rock 'N Roll in the International Bazaar.

According to evidence, an argument involving a group of men erupted at the club around 1am on the date in question when Johnson was injured.

Police officer Renaldo Bethel took the stand on Wednesday. He testified that he was at the club when the incident occurred.

Mr Bethel identified Smith in court as the man he saw that night with a knife. He said the blade was about two to three inches long.

Mr Bethel, who was a police officer at the time, said after the commotion he went to the bathroom and spoke with Smith.

"I asked him what happened and he said that the guy was attacking him and his brother so he stabbed him with a knife," Mr Bethel recalled.

"I told him that it looked like he was defending himself and to wait there while I go get the police so he could tell them what happened," Mr Bethel said.

Mr Gray, in his cross-examination, asked Mr Bethel how many persons were trying to get in the club, just prior to the argument.

He said about six to seven young men were at the door, where three security officers were standing.

"Do you recall the accused saying that the man had a knife and was trying to stab him so he took the knife and stabbed him?" asked Mr Gray.

"No," replied mr Bethel.

Mr Gray then referred to a police statement signed by Mr Bethel indicating that the accused had, in fact, told him that.

"You are a police officer?" asked Mr Gray. "Did you take the knife from the accused?" "No," Mr Bethel replied.

When Mr Gray asked him why he didn't take the knife, Mr Bethel said there was no need to take it at the time.

Mr Gray then asked Mr Bethel why he had accused Smith of passing the knife off after bumping into someone else.

Mr Bethel stated that in his experience as a policeman some persons would often pass weapons off to other persons.

You are trying to say the accused bumped into a someone and passed the knife to someone else.

The trial resumes on Monday.


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