By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN previously accused of being an accomplice to murder when he was a teenager seven years ago has been freed on appeal.
The appellate court quashed the 35-year sentence Glenardo Johnson was serving in connection to the murder of Owen "Pappi" Rose Sr on June 3, 2012.
The man previously said to be his accomplice in the matter, Livingston Woodside, was not so fortunate. His 40-year sentence for the crime was affirmed by the appellate court.
According to the evidence led at trial, Rose, of Elizabeth Estates, was found dead on the night in question at Washington Street with gunshot wounds to his body.
It was the Crown's case that the murder was a paid execution with Woodside, who was 19 at the time, pulling the trigger and Johnson, who was 16, serving as an accomplice. The case against the pair were based on the statements they each gave to the police.
Woodside's statement said that on the date in question, a man known as "Thugs" showed up at his house on Homestead Street to buy an ecstasy pill from his stepfather "Kaz". Afterwards, "Thugs" approached him and asked if he wanted to accept a "hit". When Woodside replied in the affirmative, he was told the hit was on a man called "Pappi".
Woodside subsequently told "Thugs": "…I don't even know how this man look. How I supposed to go kill him?" In response, "Thugs" told him "don't watch noting", and that he had a "little boy" called "Cock Cox" ready and waiting.
Woodside said he asked "Thugs" for a gun, and received a Glock 40 in response. Afterwards, he and "Cock Cox" went walking from out of his yard and ultimately to Washington Street.
When the pair arrived at a shortcut, Livingston inquired as to Rose's whereabouts. In response, he said "Cock Cox" told him: "Let's walk down there to see where he is so we could hurry up deal with this vibe." When they did so, "Cock Cox" pointed Rose out.
Both men put hoods over their heads and proceeded towards the victim. While they were walking past him, Livingston took the gun from his waist and shot Rose. Afterwards, they ran onto Homestead Street en route to Miami Street.
While standing near a water pump on Miami Street, Livingston said the pair saw "Thugs" pulling out of his yard. Livingston said when he asked the man if he was ready to pay them for the hit, he was told to wait three days.
Afterwards, Livingston said he and "Cock Cox" went their separate ways. He said he didn't see "Cock Cox" until that Wednesday. The pair then made their way on foot to "Thugs'" house, where the man paid them $10,000.
Livingston said they split the money equally and again went their separate ways. Livingston said he used his share to buy a car.
Johnson's statement meanwhile, said that around 10pm on that date, a guy he knew as "Vincent" told him he had someone he had to shoot. Johnson said he told Vincent "let's go" in response.
Johnson said the pair were walking long Miami Street when Vincent pointed out a Rastafarian man standing through a shortcut facing an unspecified church. The man was seated on a bucket a couple feet away from his home, smoking.
Johnson said Vincent subsequently gave him a chrome and black .40 handgun and told him to shoot the "Rasta man". Johnson complied, and fired three shots in the man's direction. After the victim fell to the ground, the pair fled the area.
After making it to a two-story church, Johnson said he gave Vincent the gun. They subsequently got into a stolen car and drove to a spot on Palm Beach Street in the Englerston community. Afterwards, the pair went their separate ways.
Both men were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. During trial, both men asserted that their statements were not made voluntarily and were obtained as a result of police brutality. However, they were still convicted of the offenses. Woodside was sentenced to 40 years in prison, while Johnson was sentenced to 16 years.
Woodside appealed on the grounds that the trial judge ought to have acceded to his no-case submission pertaining to inconsistencies in the Crown's case and that the prosecution failed to prove evidence of joint enterprise. He also asserted that a 40-year sentence was too harsh.
Johnson, meanwhile, appealed on the grounds that he was a juvenile, and that his statement to police was not taken in the presence of an appropriate adult. Johnson also claimed that the police did not explain to the adult who was present what his role and responsibility was.
Concerning Woodside, the appellate judges said his complaint that his sentence was too harsh was "meritless", as he killed a man "he did not know and with whom he had no grievance for no reason other than money".
Concerning Johnson however, the appellate judges said the trial judge should not have admitted his evidence as it was taken in clear breach of rules governing the taking of statements from juveniles.
Additionally, the appellate court noted that the trial judge did not consider the fact that Johnson refused to sign his statement, which is inconsistent with it being given voluntarily.
As the statement was the single bit of "critical evidence" against Johnson, his conviction was deemed unsafe and worthy of being quashed in its absence.
Thus, both his conviction and sentence were quashed.
Attorney Christina Galanos represented Johnson on appeal, while Sonia Timothy represented Woodside.