By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A man testified on Friday that he used Facebook as a last resort to counteract the allegations made in a statement he said he was forced to give to police that implicated his cousin and two other men of executing a murder plot.
Carlderon Brown said he posted a video of himself in Facebook group "242 In The Know" in order to “tell the world the truth” about what caused him to turn the Crown on his cousin Jahmaro Edgecombe and Daran Neely concerning Kenyari Lightbourne’s death in 2016.
That video in which Brown said he was “forced” to “lie and frame” his cousin and Neely with “some stuff that I don’t know nothing about” was played in court. He further stated that when he later went to the Supreme Court to withdraw his statement, he was arrested and “taken away from my family”.
Brown said he recorded the video some months after the deceased was killed in June of that year, and while in protective custody, somewhere he would ultimately spend the next year or so.
And, he said, the statement he sought to recant via the video, was given after he was suffocated and beaten by two officers in the homicide section of the Central Detective Unit (CDU) and threatened to be prosecuted for armed robbery and home invasion, shortly after Lightbourne was killed.
The revelations were made during Edgecombe, Neely, and a third individual, Sean Brown’s trial into Lightbourne’s death near Woods Alley.
On the date in question, Lightbourne was shot multiple times while walking through his Woods Alley neighbourhood off Market Street. He died at the scene.
Neely and Edgecombe, aka “Bingy”, the alleged gunman, were arraigned within months of each other in 2016 in connection with Lightbourne’s death. Sean Brown, aka “Fire”, is charged with accessory after the fact.
During previous proceedings, the Crown asserted that Brown, in a July 8, 2016 statement, told police that Edgecombe killed Lightbourne at Neely’s request for some $5,000, then used $3,000 of that sum to buy a silver coloured Nissan Primera.
The Crown also asserted that in a December 20, 2016 statement, Brown told police that after Neely found out he gave a statement incriminating them, Neely, while in prison, subsequently initiated a series of events to have Brown withdraw himself as a witness in the matter.
On Friday, however, Brown indicated that in July of 2016, he was arrested at his Pinewood Gardens home and taken to the South Beach Police Station before being taken to CDU. He said his two sisters, younger brother, and stepfather were at home when he was arrested.
Brown said when he got to CDU, he was led to the homicide section, where he was suffocated and beaten about the abdomen. He also said he was threatened to be prosecuted for armed robbery and home invasion, a threat he said was never carried out.
Nonetheless, he said that as a result of the officers’ actions, he signed documents, the contents of which he had no knowledge.
Brown, while under cross-examination, further stated that he later went to the Attorney General’s office, where he spoke with a woman by the name of Ms Christie to explain to her what happened to him while he was in custody.
Brown said after consulting with Ms Christie, he went to the Supreme Court in a bid to withdraw his statement in the matter, but said he was arrested and taken into protective custody.
Brown said he was held at a residence unknown to the public, where he didn’t have access to any cellphones or communication to the outside world, and which was secured by police officers who monitored traffic in and out of that residence. He said he was there for about a year or so, beginning from December 2016.
Nonetheless, he said, he was able to somehow get a small, black smartphone from a neighbour in the area he was being held in protective custody. And it was that phone he used to record the “recanting” of his statement.
Brown said he used the phone’s camera app to record the video before uploading it to Facebook. He said it wasn’t his Facebook account, but the account of the phone’s owner. He said he ultimately posted it in a group whose members he did not know, which he later revealed to be 242 In The Know.
In that video, Brown identified himself as Carlderon Brown, and subsequently said: “I was forced, beaten by police to lie and frame my cousin Jahmaro Taylor and Daran Neely on some stuff that I don’t know nothing about. So I went to the AG’s office and I met a woman named Ms Christie, and I told her that I was beaten and forced to lie on some people about some stuff that I don’t know nothing about. So she asked me the name, I told her the names.
“She told me that I will have to go to court and say what I have to say. And so I went to the court and I was arrested by police, and I was taken away from my family.”
Neely is represented by Wayne Munroe, QC, and Jomo Campbell, David Cash represents Edgecombe, and Nathan Smith represents Sean Brown.
Racquel Whymms and Al-Leecia Delancy appeared for the Crown.