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'Kentucky Kid' verdict

JFJ happy with ‘Kentucky Kid’ verdict

Thursday, August 14, 2014    

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THREE cops and two civilians are to be charged for the murder of entertainer Robert 'Kentucky Kid' Hill.

Charges are to be laid against the five following a ruling by a jury at the Kingston and St Andrew Coroner's Court on Tuesday in the inquest into the death of Hill, who was shot and killed in what the police said was a shoot-out when they went in search of him at his Ivy Green Mews home in December 2009.

The cops have been identified as Special Corporal Uriel Anderson, Constable Gary Thomas and Special Constable Norval Warren.

The two civilians Marvia Morgan and Donovan Brown, will also be slapped with similar charges.

Following the ruling, presiding Coroner Patrick Murphy ordered that warrants be issued for the arrest of the five -- all of whom were absent at the time of the verdict.

Before his death, Hill made several complaints to a number of bodies, including the Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA) and Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) concerning incidents between himself and the police, expressing fear for his life and the safety of his family.

Hill had also recorded and released a number of videos on the Internet detailing his allegations of abuse at the hands of the police.

He also posted video showing police officers ill-treating him and his then pregnant wife at their Kingston home. In the recordings, Hill pleaded for help and claimed that elements within the constabulary were conspiring to intimidate him in order to get him to cease pursuing complaints against the police arising from a motor vehicle accident in Spanish Town, St Catherine, on July 11, 2009.

The coroner's inquest into the questionable death of the 37-year-old entertainer began on September 28, 2010 in the Kingston and St Andrew Coroner's Court.

On Tuesday, the jury ruled that the three police officers and two civilians should be charged with murder, bringing to end one phase of the more than four-year-long battle for justice by Hill's relatives.

Yesterday, human rights lobby group JFJ expressed pleasure at the verdict of the jury.

"JFJ represented the family of Robert Hill during the coroner's inquest, as it has done for over 100 families of deceased persons in the past two years. The organisation is heartened by INDECOM's work in this matter," a release from JFJ said.

The lobby group, however, lamented the long time it took for the inquest to be completed and called for the criminal case to be expedited in the interest of justice.

"JFJ notes that it took the state apparatus more than four years and eight months to arrive at a decision to charge persons in relation to Mr Hill's death. This matter will now proceed to the Circuit Court for trial. JFJ calls for a thorough and expeditious prosecution of the matter. This would represent another step in the arduous quest for justice for the family of Mr Hill. While this ruling is welcome news, we remind the State that justice delayed is justice denied," the release stated.

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