Entertainment

Cops still hot on cold files

Dead cases

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 17, 2014    

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EVERY so often, the entertainment industry is rocked by the brutal murder of one of its own.

Four years ago, this month, O'Neil Edwards -- a third of the dancehall group Voicemail -- was shot at his home in Dunhaney Park, St Andrew. He later succumbed to his injuries while at the Kingston Public Hospital. To date no arrests have been made.

The Edwards incident joins a growing list of tragedies that grab headlines and, after the initial shock and over-the-top funerals, seem to fade into the pile of unsolved murders.

In recent times, entertainment fraternity members including music executive Joel Chin; the in-your-face manager and promoter Christine Hewitt; music producer Patrick 'Roach' Samuels; as well as flamboyant dancers Gerald 'Bogle' Levy and David 'Ice' Smith have all been murdered, but these crimes remain unsolved.

Senior Superintendent of Police Michael Phipps of the Major Investigation Task Force says, despite what seems like a lack of activity, as it relates to these cases, they are definitely not closed.

"We have been asking persons with information as it relates to a number of these cases to come forward. This has been working pretty well, and soon we should be making headway, with a view to wrapping up these cases," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Using the Vybz Kartel murder case as an example, SSP Phipps said that the police force is stepping up efforts to convince the holders of information to come forward. This not only includes cases involving members of the entertainment fraternity.

"Pretty soon we should be able to announce a breakthrough. What we are doing is spending the time to gather quality evidence and make sure what we present are airtight cases which are able to stand up to scrutiny. The Kartel case has shown how important it is to get the right witnesses to make a case sound. So, this is our approach," said

the lawman.

Levy, was shot at a gas station in Half-Way-Tree on January 20, 2005. In the wake of his murder, dancehall deejay Beenie Man offered a $1-million reward for the capture of the killers.

Hewitt's charred remains were found in her burnt-out Toyota Noah minibus in the Freedom district of St Catherine on June 29, 2006. Hewitt's husband David Gordon and his brother Worthsworth were initially charged with the murder. However, the two were acquitted on October 10, 2013.

Smith -- creator of the Gully Creeper -- was gunned down in a bar on Newark Avenue, off Waltham Park Road in Kingston, on Boxing Day of 2008.

Chin, an executive of VP Records, was shot and killed at his Stony Hill home on August 17, 2011. Reports are that he was pounced upon by gunmen as he exited his motor car. The 35-year-old was the grandson of VP Records founders Pat and Vincent Chin.

Producer Samuels, otherwise called Roach, was killed on the morning of September 15, 2013.

Other unsolved murders include those of General Echo, Kentucky Kid, Copper Cat, Black Rat, and Dapsy Daps.

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