'People wicked dem ways deh'

Accused in double beheading case denies knowing star witness, ever talking to him

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 21, 2019

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KEMAR Riley, 29, one of the accused in the 2011 double beheading of 18-year-old Joeith Lynch and her mother Charmaine Rattray, yesterday told a stunned courtroom that he had never laid eyes on the prosecution's star witness who last week testified that Riley confessed to him that he had been part of the group of men who invaded the women's house.

According to the witness, who took the stand last week Thursday, Riley told him in 2011 that he had ended up being the one to fire a shot into the head of Lynch because she bawled out the name of one of the individuals who was chopping her “too loud”.

The witness told the court that after he was picked up by the police on July 26, 2011 from a location in St Andrew, he along with Adrian Campbell, another accused in the matter, were taken to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station and then transferred to Spanish Town Police Station. He said while there he saw a hopping Riley enter the holding area.

According to the witness, he was familiar with Riley because he was his roommate's friend and would often be at the house they shared, but he was not a “person he really talk up to”.

“I went over to him. I was concerned that I was in lock-up and I didn't know why. I asked him what really gwaan round so. Him did a move likkle ignorant and say him caan believe wah really gwaan,” the witness told the court.

“When him come in Wednesday him did tell mi some tings why dem held Adrian and mi, him tell mi say a bare eediat ting gwaan round a Lauriston. Him say to me dat, 'Yuh nuh hear bout di woman an har dawta roun pon di road deh?'” the witness relayed.

“So mi seh, 'Mi hear a ting pon di news but mi nuh know wah gwaan'. So him tun to mi an tell mi seh him 'bex wah gwaan cause dat shouldn't gwaan',” the witness said.

He said in that supposed confession, Riley told him that the women were killed because their relatives had been responsible for the death of an individual named Scott Thomas.

“Dem programme dem Labourite family fi come kill Scott, so dem move in back on the mother and the daughter,” the witness said he was told by Riley, who he said fingered Campbell and another man as being involved in the killings.

“Dem programme the people dem, dat mean dem kill dem. He told me dat when the door kick off him and [another individual] go in the daughter room, him say him hold on pon the girl and Adrian them a deal with the mother,” he told the court.

The witness said he was told that when Lynch was chopped, she called out the “personal name” of the individual who chopped her “an say, 'Yu ago kill mi?'. He said at this point Riley told him that “him haffi move the individual outta the way and shoot her because she bawl out too loud”.

“Mi tun to him and mi say, 'Jah know, dawg, a dat really gwaan?'. Mi kiss mi teeth and move from beside him…I didn't want to be around him,” the witness said.

Under questioning from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, he said he was not in the area at the time of the murders as he had been working that night.

But yesterday, the former Waterford High School dropout, who is alleged to have been part of a group of about eight men who on the night of July 19, 2011 hacked to death, shot, then beheaded the women, told the court that on the morning after the killings “I hear that people dead down the road”.

He further denied knowing Campbell, who has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, telling the court that he did not “par” with a lot of young men and tended to favour being among the “elderly”.

Asked by defence lawyer Lloyd McFarlane, who is representing him, whether he had murdered Lynch or her mother on the night of July 19, he said: “No sir, not at all.”

Asked whether he had been at their house that night or whether he had been among the group of men who invaded the home of the women, he said: “No, sir, not at all.”

“Did you, while you were in this courtroom, see (key prosecution witness whose name is being withheld) sitting there where you are now?” McFarlane asked.

“Yes, I see a man in this room,” Riley said.

“When was the first time you can recall seeing [that witness],” McFarlane wanted to know.

“Last week Thursday was the first time I was seeing that man,” Riley replied.

“Did you have any conversation with this man while at the Spanish Town Police Station,” McFarlane continued.

“No, sir, not at all,” Riley answered.

“Did you tell [him], whilst in custody that you shot Cristal?” McFarlane asked.

“No sir, not at all,” Riley said again.

According to Riley, on the night of the incident he received a phone call from his aunt who lived in another house in the same yard, asking him if he had heard gunshots, and he replied in the negative.

Under questioning from Llewellyn, Riley insisted that while he was born and raised in Lauriston and knew most individuals there, he only had “about two handfuls” of male friends, was “no friend of Adrian Campbell”, and was never part of any “organisation” or gang.

Furthermore, he said when he was taken into custody he was not hopping as the star prosecution witness had said.

“No...I never see that man before, until last week Thursday in this courthouse,” Riley said.

Asked by the DPP, “Do you know of any reason a man you have never seen before would come and tell a big lie on you?”, he said: “People wicked dem ways deh.”

Riley said, too, that he had not seen or spoken to the individual while in the holding area.

“I don't know of that…mi nuh hold no form of conversation in custody with no one,” he insisted, responding to snippets of the conversation, read by the DPP, that he supposedly had with the witness, “No, no, no ma'am, not at all.”

Asked whether he knew what it meant to “programme somebody”, Riley said, “No, Ma'am, when yuh programme a TV (television) or a radio?”, evoking titters from individuals in the courtroom.

He said while he had been asked by Lynch and her mother at various times to climb the ackee tree in their yard to pick the fruit for them, he had no idea their dwelling was a two-bedroom and he also did not know which room was occupied by Lynch, as he had never been inside.

“You told him that you move (name removed) out of the way and shoot Crystal?” the DPP challenged.

“No, ma'am, no, ma'am,” Riley replied vehemently, his voice raising a few notches. “I don't know that man at all. I don't know anything of that man. I was home with my mom, my two sisters, and my two brothers,” he added.

Asked again if he had told the witness that he shot Lynch, he said: “No, ma'am, me never fire a gun before.”

Riley said he knew Roshane Goldson and Sanja Ducally prior, but only met Campbell and Fabian Smith since being in custody.

He said the morning after the killings he had not gone to the scene, as other community membersd had, but instead “head in the other direction”.

“I feel a way [upon hearing persons he knew had been brutally killed], but when I come out the house all I did was grab my bag with my tools and head in the other direction,” he told the court.

Riley is one of five of the group who were later arrested and charged in relation to the brutal murders. Three of the men, Campbell, Goldson, and Smith, have since pleaded guilty to non-capital murder and are to be sentenced. Riley and his cousin Ducally, however, pleaded not guilty to murder and were standing trial. Ducally yesterday walked free after his lawyers made a successful no-case submission on his behalf.

The trial continues today.


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