Defence grills witness in Shineka Gray murder trial
ST JAMES, Jamaica — A witness, who on Monday testified that accused killer Gregory Roberts showed him a graphic video of 15-year-old Shineka Gray being stabbed to death, was on Tuesday grilled by the defence attorney who accused him of fabricating the story.
The cross examination lasted the entire day and the trial continues in the St James Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Roberts is charged in connection with the 2017 murder of the Green Pond High School student.
On Tuesday, when the case was called before High Court Justice Bertram Morrison, the witness completed testimony he had started the day earlier. Then defence attorney Chumu Paris began his cross-examination.
On Monday, the witness testified that on January 29, 2017, Roberts came to his female friend’s house and showed him a video of a man stabbing a little girl and that Roberts told him that he [Roberts] was the person in the video.
During cross-examination on Tuesday, Paris asked the witness how far he was from Roberts, and the witness replied that he had been only an arm’s length away.
Referring to the witness’ testimony on Monday that Roberts was wearing a blood-splattered grey merino on the night he arrived at the house, Paris argued that the witness was not telling the truth.
“I’m suggesting to you that Mr Roberts was not wearing a grey merino with blood on it…You also gave a story about the video, you made it up,” Paris said, but the witness insisted his statement was correct.
“I am speaking the truth… I saw blood on the merino and on his hands, and he asked for water to wash his hands,” the witness confidently stated.
The attorney also told the witness that when he went on the steps to speak to Roberts, there was no light on in the house, but the witness rejected Paris’ claim.
Paris then asked the witness if he had asked Roberts if he was okay when he noticed the blood on his merino. The witness replied that he did not.
The defence attorney then moved on to another point. The witness had testified that the day after his encounter with Roberts, on January 30, 2017, he saw a missing person’s picture of the same girl in the video Roberts had reportedly shown him.
“I went to work and I saw a picture about a missing girl. One of my friends sent a picture on Facebook, and when I saw the picture, it was the same girl Gregory showed me on the phone, and it was a full picture of her in a full dress, tiger-coloured,” the witness explained on Monday.
On Tuesday, Paris also questioned the veracity of that claim.
After the defence attorney’s cross-examined of the witness, the prosecutor had a few follow up questions. The witness was asked how much time elapsed after Roberts showed him the video before he went to the police. In response, the witness stated that he went the next day after leaving work.
The prosecutor then sought to clarify the witness’s response when Paris asked him if Roberts had told him that he was not okay because of the blood stains on his merino.
“Did he [Roberts] make any complaint to you that he was not alright?” the prosecutor inquired of the witness, who replied, “No.”
No further witness was called to the stand and the trial was set for continuation. Roberts was remanded in custody.
Gray’s body was discovered in bushes in Irwin, St James on February 1, 2017 with multiple stab wounds. Roberts and another defendant, Mario Morrison, were subsequently arrested and charged with the schoolgirl’s murder.
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Morrison entered a guilty plea in September 2022 and was sentenced to life imprisonment a month later.