Shineka’s killer was on bail
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Mario Morrison, who was convicted for the murder of 15-year-old Shineka Gray, was on bail for another murder, committed with a knife, at the time of her death in 2017.
He was granted bail in October 2016, three months before the schoolgirl was killed.
The other murder charge still hangs over his head as the case is still before the court.
Those were some of the details that emerged on Monday as the murder trial for Morrison’s co-accused, Gregory Roberts, continued. Throughout the day, defence attorney Leroy Equiano sought to establish the role Morrison played in the teenager’s demise.
Last week Morrison testified that he, at Roberts’s request, recorded Roberts stabbing Shineka to death.
“…He passed the phone to me, saying, ‘Dog, video this for me,’…And I’m videoing now, he had the knife and started to stab her… She started crying and bawling, even saying, ‘Lord, this is what you going to do to your daughter?’ ” Morrison testified.
On Monday, during cross-examination, Equiano asked Morrison, “Did you have a knife that night?”
Morrison answered no.
“Did you threaten the girl or give any orders?” the attorney asked; again Morrison replied, “No.”
“Did you stab the girl?” the attorney pursued.
“No, I did not stab her; the only thing I did was to hold the phone,” Morrison replied.
“The only thing you admitted to was that you had sex with the girl and that you did not force her. Is that correct, sir?” the attorney asked Morrison, who replied in the affirmative.
“Did you participate in any killing?” Equiano inquired once more, but Morrison flatly said no.
When asked again if he had sex with the teenaged girl against her will, Morrison said no.
By law he is guilty of murder because of his actions at the scene.
The revelation that Morrison was on bail at the time of Shineka’s murder will no doubt fuel long-running concerns that individuals on murder or gun charges typically commit other offences while they are on bail.
For the June 2022 opening of the Easter Term session of the Westmoreland Circuit Court, 17 of the individuals before the court were on bail for murder. They were among 32 people charged with serious offences that were committed while they were on bail, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey told the Jamaica Observer at the time.
Bailey had been providing data in a pushback against defence lawyers who took issue with the claim that a large number of individuals on bail were reoffending.
The Government, pummelled by urgings to get a handle on crime, had also pointed to the need to tighten the legislation. However, Minister of Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte came in for criticism last June when she signalled changes to the Bail Act that would see individuals charged with murder and gun-related charges denied bail. An amended Bail Act was passed on July 25, 2023, four years after Gray’s death.
The Green Pond High School student was found dead in bushes in Irwin, St James, with multiple stab wounds on February 1, 2017.
Morrison pleaded guilty to her murder in September 2022 and was sentenced a month later to life imprisonment.
Ten of 18 witnesses have already provided evidence in the ongoing Roberts trial. Eight witnesses gave sworn evidence, and two other witnesses’ statements were read into evidence. The trial continues Tuesday.