Detective admits no physical evidence linking Barnes to murder
THE lead detective in the murder trial of Everton “Beachy Stout” McDonald and Oscar Barnes on Wednesday admitted under cross-examination that he had no physical evidence linking Barnes to the murder of McDonald’s second wife, Tonia.
He made the admission as Vincent Wellesley, one of the lawyers representing Barnes, asked why he continued to use a witness, Denvalyn “Bubbla” Minott, after he had lied in two statements to the police.
Minott ended up giving a third statement to detectives about how the July 20, 2020 murder of Tonia McDonald in Portland unfolded.
Tonia was the second wife of Beachy Stout, who is accused of ordering her murder.
According Minott, who is serving a 19-year and 10-month prison sentence for being the contractor in Tonia’s murder, McDonald had contracted him for $3 million to kill Tonia and he, in turn, sub-contracted the hit to Barnes, who he claimed stabbed Tonia repeatedly and cut her throat.
According to the detective sergeant in court on Wednesday, after he read through the statements from Minott, he observed that Minott had given three different accounts of the incident. Despite this, the detective sergeant said he “was not of the assumption that Minott was somebody who I couldn’t believe. I did not have cause to suspect he was a liar. I consider myself an honest person. I didn’t make any judgment as to whether or not he was truthful or telling a lie”.
Minott’s statement had led to the arrest of Barnes, who Minott had pointed out to cops in August 2020 during what the detective sergeant described as a drive-through session. The policeman admitted that even without any concrete evidence linking Barnes to the crime, he was still arrested, charged and placed on trial.
He said it was his decision to take Barnes into custody.
“Based on what transpired, he was a person of interest in the investigation,” he said.
He admitted that apart from Minott’s statement which implicated Barnes, and the fact that Minott pointed him out, he “had no other evidence” against Barnes.
Wellesley accused the cop of being dishonest, prompting presiding Judge Chester Stamp to encourage the attorney to cross-examine the witness and not accuse him of anything.
Wellesley probed to find out why he arrested Barnes without Minott describing him in any statement or mentioning his name.
The detective told the seven-member jury that, “There was no description given in the statement but I arrested him in relation to information in a particular statement. The police went to the home of Mr Barnes but I don’t recall us taking away any clothes or anything else. I didn’t receive any items from my colleagues. As chief investigator I collected no knife or anything else connecting Barnes to the crime.”
The cop said that on August 5, 2020 during the drive through Minott pointed out Barnes saying, ‘see him deh, sidung inna di chair’. “I did not know Mr Barnes until that moment.”
He further told court that a cellphone was taken from Barnes and was processed but nothing was found on it that connects Barnes to the murder.