Man’S Appeal Over Cop Killing Still Undecided


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE Court of Appeal is considering whether it will agree with a man’s assertions that he should not have been convicted for killing a senior police officer during the course of an armed robbery five years ago.

The appellate tribunal reserved its decision concerning Dion Bethel’s appeal of his conviction for murdering Sergeant 1475 Wayne Rolle and robbing him at gunpoint of a cellphone in December 2014.

Sgt Rolle was shot in the head and killed as he sat in his vehicle with a female friend while off duty on December 4, 2014. The incident took place around 7pm on Durham Street off Montrose Avenue.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean said police received reports of the shooting and upon arrival they found Sgt Rolle slumped over the driver’s seat of his car with gunshot wounds. Sr ACP Dean said a “female companion” was in the vehicle with the officer at the time of the shooting, but was unharmed.

According to the facts, at around 7.30pm Sgt Rolle picked up his girlfriend, Shavon Seymour from her residence. They later parked in the parking lot of Bahamas Auto Parts to talk. Sgt Rolle was in the driver’s seat while Ms Seymour sat behind him.

Approximately five minutes after Sgt Rolle parked the vehicle, a person passed Ms Seymour’s window and went straight to the passenger window holding his hand straight ahead.

Ms Seymour said she could not see if the person had a gun or not, although that individual told Sgt Rolle not to move and to give him everything he had. Sgt Rolle proceeded to take the keys out of the ignition and while doing so was fumbling. He got his phone in his hand and was fumbling with his watch.

Another person then went to the driver’s side window and said, “Open the door, open the door.” At that point, Sgt Rolle’s window was down and Ms Seymour’s window was rolled up. Ms Seymour said she fumbled in her attempt to find the lock but could not find it.

Sgt Rolle then said: “I am going to open the door. Don’t shoot her.” The senior officer subsequently unlocked the door from the front and the person who was at his window opened the door and started feeling Ms Seymour’s pockets.

Ms Seymour said she told the two men that she did not have anything on her. However, one of them told her: “Don’t look at me! Turn around, turn your head, lay down in the seat!” She did as was told and replied: “I am not going to look at you.”

Ms Seymour said she turned and put her head down and closed her eyes before she heard a loud bang and a groan from Sgt Rolle. After a minute or so she started calling his name but got no answer. Afterwards, she said she got out of the car and called for help.

On December 20, 2014, Bethel was arrested and cautioned over Sgt Rolle’s murder, which he denied all knowledge of. Two days later, he gave the police two records of interview and one statement under caution, which the Crown based its entire case upon.

Additionally, Crown witness Kendia Farrington testified that on December 24, 2014, Bethel told her that his brother, Kevin McKenzie aka “Sheva”, should have never sold her a phone. The Crown’s case was that police initially found the phone in Farrington’s possession, and that she said she bought the phone from McKenzie. Thus, the Crown sought to establish that the phone she bought was the same phone that was stolen from Sgt Rolle on the date in question.

Bethel and McKenzie were subsequently both formally charged with murdering Sgt Rolle and robbing him at gunpoint of a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone.

During trial, Bethel opted to testify in his defence, and said on the date in question, he was with a man named Trevor Bethel all day up until 6pm when Trevor Bethel was shot in his hand. Bethel said the only time he left Trevor’s house was when he went to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) with Trevor’s sister Shantara Bethel to see him.

Bethel said he and Shantara also went to two restaurants to get something for Trevor and Trevor’s mother to eat.

Bethel also claimed that on December 22, 2014, he was beaten and ‘fish-bagged’ by police while at the Central Detective Unit (CDU), who told him they had already killed his brother and that they would kill him next. He said when he told them he didn’t do anything, they responded by saying if he didn’t do anything, he should just do as they said and that they would consequently let him go. Bethel claimed he did everything they told him to but he still found himself charged for something he had no knowledge of.

He further claimed that after being beaten, then taken to the scene of the crime and to his mother’s house, they took him back to CDU. Once there, and while being interviewed by a police officer, Bethel said his interrogator was looking at him and talking under his breath to make sure he answered the questions in the right way.

He said prior to the officers taking him on the crime scene, he did not know where the crime scene was. Nonetheless, on November 13, 2015, Bethel was convicted of both murder and armed robbery and sentenced by Justice Ian Winder to 40 years imprisonment.

Bethel is represented by attorney Christina Galanos on appeal.

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