By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE attorney for one of three men charged in connection with the 2013 Fox Hill mass shooting yesterday asserted that the scene of the crime was tampered with before investigators could process it.
Geoffrey Farquharson, attorney for Justin Williams, asserted that some unknown person or persons moved the body of one of the deceased victims sometime after he and nine others were sprayed with a hail of bullets in December 2013.
This, Mr Farquharson asserted, was because although all of the victims were said to have been shot while in the confines of the Fox Hill park, the body of the only victim who died at the scene was found outside the perimetre of the park.
And not only was the deceased man found beyond of the park’s perimetre, Mr Farquharson asserted, but his body was “draped” in yellow tape used by police to cordon off crime scenes to prevent contamination of the area for investigative purposes.
The argument about the deceased victim’s body came during Mr Farquharson’s cross examination of Inspector Lavardo Sherman, a crime scene investigator who processed and took photographs of the scene as he met it on the date in question.
Insp Sherman’s interrogation came during the second week of trial before Justice Deborah Fraser concerning the Freedom Park mass, drive-by shooting on December 17, 2013.
Williams, Peter Rolle, and Jermaine Curry are the accused. It is alleged that the trio murdered four people - Claudezino Davis, Shaquille Demeritte, Eric Morrison and Shenique Sands. They are also charged with the attempted murder of Chino Davis, Janet Davis, John Davis, Samuel Ferguson, Jermaine Pratt and Leroy Taylor.
According to initial reports, around 6pm on the date in question, occupants of a small, dark vehicle opened fire “with a variety of weapons” in the area just behind the basketball court where several people were gathered awaiting Junkanoo results.
Davis was pronounced dead at the scene while ten others were taken to hospital in private vehicles and an ambulance. Demeritte, Morrison and Sands later died in hospital of their injuries.
Previously, Insp Sherman testified how he observed the lifeless body of one of the three men killed during the shooting when he arrived at the scene sometime around 6:20pm on the date in question.
Insp Sherman said the man, who was clad in a short-sleeved blue t-shirt and short, dark pants, was lying face up on the ground in a pool of blood, and with various abrasions to his face on the outside of the basketball park’s perimeter wall near to Reeves Street.
Insp Sherman said he had the opportunity to see that same man’s body in the morgue days later on January 6, 2014, as well as those of the other two male victims and a female victim, all of whom had noticeable injuries.
Insp Sherman also said the scene at Fox Hill was littered with numerous cartridge casings of various calibres, including that of .223 ammunition which are used in AK-47 assault rifles or “similar weapons”.
Besides the multiple fired rounds of .223 ammunition he took photographs of, Inspector Sherman said in total he observed 16 fired 9mm rounds; 10 fired 7.62 rounds; and one fired .40 round of ammunition.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Mr Farquharson referred to the photographs Insp Sherman took of the scene, particularly those of the deceased male he saw that day. In doing so, the attorney asserted that Insp Sherman could not have done his job effectively because the scene had already been tampered with prior to his arrival.
Mr Farquharson asserted that although the victims were shot within the confines of the park’s perimeter wall, the photographs he took showed the body of the deceased man positioned outside of the wall with yellow caution tape wrapped around it.
Mr Farquharson observed that the yellow caution tape would have been placed at the scene subsequent to the shooting and after the victim had died. He directed the senior officer’s attention to a photo showing a strip of crime scene tape situated on the wall next to the deceased man’s body.
Thus, he asserted that the only logical explanations were that the deceased man was “running around in Fox Hill with crime scene tape on him” when he was shot; that the deceased man ran through the tape before his death; or that the scene was tampered with.
Insp Sherman, in response, said he could not speak to what may have happened at the crime scene prior to his arrival. He maintained that all he did was process the scene, placed evidence markers near the cartridge casings for investigative purposes, and photograph it “in situ”, or as he met it.
Insp Sherman conceded that the body at the scene could have been due to the actions of medical personnel seeking to render assistance to the victim. However, the officer insisted that he could not speak to that in a conclusive manner in any event because he was not there at that time.
The matter continues on Thursday.