Former co-workers of murder accused in shock

Former co-workers of murder accused in shock

'We cannot believe he could be mixed up in the Falmouth bank lady's death,' one says

Sunday, February 21, 2021

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T he man accused of driving the getaway car that was linked to the killing of banker Andrea Lowe-Garwood on January 31 this year continues to shock some of his former co-workers who find it hard to accept that he would become involved in any plot to kill anyone.

The situation is even more one of disbelief, they said, as confessed criminal Leon Hines is the father of a child under four months old, who will likely have limited glances of a dad now that he is about to be sentenced.

Hines, 23, who pleaded guilty to two of six charges in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston last Thursday, will be sentenced on March 12.

Days after the incident, which occurred during a church service in the Trelawny capital of Falmouth, Hines was arrested by police in Kingston, and later charged with six counts: murder, illegal possession of firearm, accessory before the fact to murder, accessory after the fact to murder, conspiracy to murder, and misprision of a felony. He pleaded guilty to illegal possession of firearm and accessory after the fact to murder.

Two other men were also arrested by police, and charged. They are Javan Garwood, 29, stepson of the deceased woman, who is facing murder and conspiracy to murder charges and Dwight Bingham, who is charged with murder and illegal possession of firearm.

Hines' former colleagues at a call centre in western Jamaica told the Jamaica Observer last week that they still could not believe that it was the same individual who had been charged in relation to the incident, one even describing him as “a very quiet, intelligent and productive youth.

“He was a very good employee, over the years that he worked with us. He could really do his work, but unfortunately, he got mixed up in a little thing at the workplace with some other people and lost his job.”

Another employee echoed similar sentiments about the man whom police listed as a storekeeper of Rose Heights in Montego Bay, St James.

“He was a very good youth. Everybody is in shock to know that he got himself mixed up with the murder of the bank lady from Falmouth, because none of us saw anything like that in him.

“When he comes to work, he sits and does his work, in fact, he sometimes even isolates himself from the other staff in order to get more work in. I have nothing bad to say about him, but I'm just as shocked as anybody else to know that his name is mixed up in this thing [murder],” Hines' former co-worker said.

Garwood, 51, was worshipping at church when a man got close to her and shot her several times, including in the head. A doctor at Falmouth Hospital, nearby, confirmed her death, although it was known generally at the scene that she had stopped breathing. The shooter jumped into a waiting car which sped off, but people at the scene wrote down the licence number and turned it over to the police.

Hines' lawyer Michael Hemmings had confirmed in an earlier utterance that acting upon his client's instructions, he had entered a plea deal with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which could see Hines getting a reduced sentence if he pleads guilty, and assists the Crown with its case against the other accused men.

The Crown would, in turn, offer no evidence in respect of the four other counts.

However, should there be a breakdown of the agreement, and Hines does not provide the information desired by the Crown, the deal would be voided, and Hines would then be tried on all six counts.

Some of Hines' former co-workers have said, too, that they found it strange that all of his photographs, which were on his Facebook page, had been taken down recently.


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