WHEN Andre Edwards finished working on a building site in the rural Clarendon community of Savannah Cross on Tuesday he had no inkling he would not live to see Wednesday.
Edwards, a labourer on the site, was a few minutes earlier approached by 23-year-old Oral Smith, also called 'Duppy Eye', who begged him $100.
Residents of the community said Edwards, who was affectionately called 'Tall Man', turned out his pockets and told Smith that he was flat broke. His reply did not satisfy Smith and while Edwards rested from a gruelling day of mixing cement, Smith attacked him from behind with the same shovel he used to do his work during the day.
The young man repeatedly bludgeoned Edwards, who was left groaning in an area of the building that was designed to be a verandah.
"When we go and look at Tall Man blood was coming out of his eyes, ears, nose and mouth and him head swell big like a pumpkin. We all knew that he wouldn't make it," said a resident of the community.
As news of Edwards' killing spread like wildfire through the community anger grew among the residents, some went in search of Smith. Their rage was further fueled as, according to them, Edwards was not a troublemaker and was actually seen as a motivator among the younger persons in Savannah Cross.
"Tall Man and everybody live good in here. He was not a troublemaker and when we hear say him meet a death like that we couldn't take it so. Some of the people get real mad and decide say it can't just go so," another resident said.
Edwards was attacked about 4:00 pm and about four hours later the mob converged on the work site after getting word that Smith was holed up on the second floor of the unfinished building where he had allegedly carried out his deadly deed.
Smith was said to be reading the Bible, leapt from the structure as the angry mob closed in on him. He was reportedly hit with stones before he managed to flee for some distance. However, he was brought back close to the spot where he allegedly killed Edwards where he was chopped and beaten to death.
Smith's grandmother, 87-year-old Evelyn Harris, was overcome with grief when the Jamaica Observer visited the community yesterday.
The woman was in no way condoning her grandson's gruesome act but could not help agonising over the turn of events.
"Is like me was related to the two of them. Stephen (Smith) was my grandchild but Tall Man and me did live good too. Last night [there was] not a drop a sleep in my eyes. It jerk me up bad," Harris said as tears ran down her cheeks.
A few feet from where the aged woman sat on a building block, a pool of blood and a pair of glasses that Edwards had been wearing were seen. About a yard away the bloody shovel that was allegedly used to beat him in the head was seen lying as a macabre reminder of the tragedy that had occurred less than 24 hours before.
On the second floor of the unfinished building the bible which Smith had been reading was seen opened at Nehemiah Chapter 13.
"This is too much for anybody to bear," Harris said.
At the spot where her grandson was mauled to death a large pool of blood was seen. A bloodied pair of underpants was crumpled in the middle of the dried up blood.
"The police use it to wipe off him body. Them chop him up like how people chop up turkey neck. People say mob killing wrong but the people believe say it wrong for this boy to go a prison go get fat off taxpayers money so if them want it stop them better bring back the death penalty. People tired of the senseless killing now," one resident said.
The residents said they knew Smith since childhood but he had left the island years ago and migrated to St Marteen. He returned to the area months ago after being deported about four years ago.
When asked if he had problems, the residents replied in the negative. "We don't know of him using no drugs or as no madman. Him just wutliss (worthless). From him come back people place a get broke and him a walk and demand people money. Tall Man was working on a house that his family was building. Him could go work on the site to and stop walk and beg. Him never want to work," another resident said.
Homicide detectives from the May Pen Police Station were investigating both deaths.