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'Di pickney did haffi dead'

Witness gives gripping testimony against cop accused of killing 14-y-o girl

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/Court Desk co-ordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 04, 2012    

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CONSTABLE Rushton Hamilton in 2008 shot and killed kidnapped teen Jhaneel Goulbourne at sea, ignoring the girl's tearful pleas for her life and the advice of a police friend, a jail cell informant testified yesterday.

The witness, who was giving evidence in Hamilton's murder trial in the Home Circuit Court, testified that while both men were cellmates at Kingston's Central Police Station in early November 2008, Hamilton confessed to him of killing and dumping the girl's body at sea.

According to the witness, Hamilton said he knew that he was wrong, but that the "pickney" had to die.

"Mi jus go church and pray 'bout it the next day," the witness said Hamilton told him.

As the witness gave his evidence, a sister of the teen sat crying not far from where Hamilton was seated in the prisoners' dock. The woman had to be comforted in court by a prosecutor, who was not involved in the case.

But an expressionless Hamilton was a picture in contrast, and was busy making notes of the evidence being given against him.

The court was quiet throughout the testimony that lasted approximately half-an-hour.

Fourteen-year-old Jhaneel was kidnapped just outside her Harbour View, St Andrew, home in October 2008. Her kidnapping followed the filing of a complaint that led to Hamilton being charged with carnal abuse.

Yesterday, the witness — who described himself as a businessman — told the court that Hamilton confessed to killing the teen following their morning devotion in the number five cell they shared with two other accused policemen.

The man said he was seated on his bunk when Hamilton came to him and asked if he believed that a person can get forgiveness for doing something that he knew was wrong.

The witness said he told Hamilton 'yes' because God was a forgiving God.

"I then asked him if something was bothering him and if he wanted to speak about it. He said it was wrong and he knew it was wrong 'fi kill de pickney, but di pickney did haffi dead'," the man testified.

The witness testified that Hamilton told him that after "picking up the pickney" the vehicle in which they were travelling was stopped by the police. The witness said Hamilton said he thought that the "pickney wuda mek noise but she neva made a sound".

The witness testified further that Hamilton told him that when they reached the boat the girl started to cry, saying, "Do. Weh uno a carry mi go? Do no kill me. Mi nah chat."

According to the man's evidence, Hamilton put the girl on the boat and they headed out to sea.

"Mi police brethren say, 'No bother kill har. She not going [to] no court'. The other man say, 'Mek we just tie har up and throw her off'," the witness said Hamilton told him.

"No, we ah kill har first," the witness said Hamilton interjected.

"Me jus tek out mi gun and shot har. All when the pickney a dead har eye dem wide open a look pan mi. Mi no feel no way seh di pickney a dead," the witness said Hamilton told him.

Asked by senior prosecutor Lisa Palmer-Hamilton if he said anything to Hamilton during the alleged confession, the witness said 'no' as he was in "too much shock".

Some days after the confession, the witness said, one of the other policemen in the cell told Hamilton that the police had reportedly seen the girl. "Hamilton remarked that he was 99.99 per cent certain that she could not be found," the witness told the court.

The witness said he also heard Hamilton on different occasions talking over a cellular phone about the killing.

Both men were in early 2009 transferred to the Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston where they ended up in neighbouring cells. The witness said that while there he read an article about the girl in the now defunct tabloid newspaper Chat! and told Hamilton that she had been found.

"Before Hamilton saw the paper he laughed in a sarcastic way and say, 'Mi wuda love see that'," the witness testified.

The witness said that he handed Hamilton the newspaper and after a while Hamilton passed it back, and declared, using an expletive, that he was joking.

The evidence continues today.

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