By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TAX lawyer testified yesterday how her car was stolen while she was at work and was allegedly used by suspects to execute the 2013 Fox Hill mass shooting.
Erica Culmer-Curry said her charcoal grey Honda was stolen out of her employer's parking lot just hours before Freedom Park was sprayed with a hail of bullets in December 2013.
Mrs Culmer-Curry's testimony came during Peter Rolle's, Jermaine Curry's and Justin Williams' trial concerning the December 27, 2013 shooting at Freedom Park before Justice Deborah Fraser.
Williams, Rolle and Curry are accused of murdering four people - Claudezino Davis, Shaquille Demeritte, Eric Morrison and Shenique Sands on that date. They are also charged with attempting to murder Janet Davis, Samuel Ferguson, Chino Davis, John Davis, Jermaine Pratt and Leroy Taylor.
According to reports, around 6pm, occupants of a small, dark vehicle opened fire in the area just behind the basketball court where several people were gathered.
Davis was pronounced dead on the scene while 10 others were taken to hospital. Demeritte, Morrison and Sands later died in hospital of their injuries.
Taking the witness stand yesterday, Mrs Culmer-Curry said sometime after the lunch hour on the date in question, she arrived at her office in the Montagu area and parked her 2000 Honda sedan in the parking lot. After locking the car's doors, she went upstairs and started working.
Mrs Culmer-Curry said her husband, Maxwell Curry, had plans to drop their niece at the airport, and so he went to her East Bay Street office to get the car for that purpose. However, Mrs Culmer-Curry said when her husband got there, he could not find the car. That prompted her to go back downstairs to the parking lot, where she realised her car was not where she had parked it.
She consequently reported the matter to the Wulff Road Police Station, whose officers instructed her to make a formal report at the station.
Mrs Culmer-Curry said she did so that evening. At some point however, she said she asked the security guard stationed at her office to allow her to view the surveillance footage of the parking lot area. She said when she did, she realised that the branches of a tree were blocking the camera that could have captured the theft in its entirety. However, she said she was able to see when the thieves moved her car and drove off with it.
Mrs Culmer-Curry said that around 2.45pm on January 3, 2014, she was called to the Central Detective Unit (CDU) where she was asked to identify her vehicle. She said she walked around in a parking lot that contained a number of other vehicles before finally identifying her car.
According to evidence previously led, the vehicle allegedly used to execute the shooting was a silver coloured, four-door Honda Accord registered to Maxwell and Eric Culmer Curry. Mrs Culmer-Curry said the persons who wrote up the licence disc for the car misspelled her name, hence why "Eric Culmer" was listed on the document.
Detective Corporal Navar Neely, the crime scene investigator who processed the vehicle in question, said the car was a right-hand drive. Mrs Culmer-Curry also confirmed yesterday that her car was in fact a right-hand drive.
In testifying previously, D/Cpl Neely said he made checks of the vehicle and observed the ignition switch appeared to be damaged. Various parts of the ignition switch were also observed in a compartment on the driver's door. The officer said he also observed a screwdriver on the back seat, and that several sunglasses as well as a number of fired casings of different calibres were scattered about the car.
D/Cpl Neely said he also observed "bullet fragments" in the vehicle.
Yesterday, while being cross-examined by defence attorney Sonia Timothy, Mrs Culmer-Curry said she couldn't recall if she observed the numerous fired casings in her car. She said she remembered giving her car a general look over, and observing that her vehicle had not sustained any "new" damages.
Concerning the ignition switch, Mrs Culmer-Curry said she did have issues with the device previously, as thieves tried to steal her car on two occasions prior to December 27, 2013. She said she could not recall the extent to which the ignition switch was damaged in those two instances. However, she said she didn't recall the ignition switch looking the way it did prior to the date in question.
She also confirmed that her car used a standard key to start it, and did not feature a keyless ignition.
Defence attorney Geoffrey Farquharson thus asked Mrs Culmer-Curry how she managed to start her car if according to the evidence, the ignition switch was damaged and parts of it were found in a compartment on the driver's door. In response, Mrs Culmer-Curry said she did not personally move the car while at the CDU that day.
Mrs Culmer-Curry said she has since sold the car.
The matter continues today.