Attorney challenges witness' 'drinking blood from skull' testimonySaturday, November 20, 2021
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
That the day news broke of the murder of a man believed to have appeared in a viral video drinking blood from a goat's skull was the same day a Crown witness in the trial of the 33 accused members of the Klansman gang detailed a similar scenario in respect of accused Joseph McDermott was no coincidence, his attorney Sasha-Kay Shaw said yesterday.
On November 1 Witness Number One, who has been testifying from a remote location, brought the curtains down on that day's proceedings detailing a crude request from McDermott for the body of a man that had been killed to be dug up so he could get the skull from which to “drink blood”.
According to the witness, McDermott was the individual responsible for guarding the back entry to the gang's Jones Avenue headquarters to ensure that no one from the rival faction would enter and would patrol at nights.
“Nobody was to enter, anybody he sees who he don't know, he shoot to kill,” the witness claimed at the time. The request for the skull of the dead man, he said, came during an instance when he alleged he had returned “from off the road” where he had gone to buy two rifles — an AK47 and an M16.
The witness said on meeting up with some of the gang members at the Shelter Rock community in the area he saw McDermott telling another accused that he wanted the “skull of a man that they bury”.
According to the witness, he asked McDermott what he wanted the skull for, to which McDermott reportedly said, he “wanted to drink blood from it”.
But yesterday Shaw, in cross-examining the witness, accused him of embellishing his account based on information gained from social media to incriminate her client.
“Is it a coincidence that on the same day there was news that somebody else drink blood out of a goat head it is the same day you said [McDermott] ask for a skull to drink blood out of? Did you see the news that morning that somebody drink blood out of a goat head?” Shaw demanded.
The witness responded that he had seen the report but said it was “when I leave court, ma'am, or the next day”.
“So you didn't see it before?” Shaw pressed.
“No, ma'am,” the witness insisted.
“I am suggesting to you that when you said that conversation happened, that you are making it up to cause sensation among the media,” the attorney charged.
“I disagree with you, ma'am. I am telling the truth,” the witness said.
He was, however, forced to admit that the skull request was never included in his statement to the police.
In the November 1 report to which the attorney referred, a man believed to have appeared in a viral video drinking blood from a goat's skull was shot dead in a home invasion in St Ann. The deceased was identified as 26-year-old Tevin Grant, otherwise called “Biggs”, of Portland Road, Discovery Bay in St Ann, as well as Richmond Hill district in Montego Bay, St James.
The video had surfaced on the Internet in October.
The Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force had confirmed Grant's killing but could not say that he was the same man seen in the viral recording.
Yesterday, Shaw also contested the witness' testimony about members of the gang, including her client, allegedly gathering at the back of a church yard in the dead of night on a planned operation to a community called Fisheries in Spanish Town to murder a rival gangster.
According to the attorney, the witness had lied in that recollection as the church he referenced had been the base for soldiers and police from as far back as 2015.
“I'm suggesting to you that from 2015 soldiers and police would be based at that church, that's where they changed shifts at nights, so on the night you said the gang met, no soldier or police were there?” the attorney queried.
“More than just that night, for a few months no police wasn't there,” the witness insisted.
“I suggest to you that there was no meeting or grouping up behind that church. I'm suggesting to you that when you said you saw [McDermott] at the back of the church grouping up, you are lying,” Shaw said.
“I'm not lying. I am telling the truth,” the witness replied.
Shaw further challenged the witness's description of her client to the police, pointing to a disparity in his recollection of the length of her client's hair in a 2019 incident described by the witness.
In that incident the witness had alleged that he had collected ammunition in a soda bottle from McDermott and a gun from another gang member while in the company of an undercover police investigator that he had introduced to them as his “uncle”. Yesterday, the lawyer, in insisting that the bottle had only been filled with cornmeal and not ammunition, was told by the witness, “Filled with ammunition, but cornmeal was in it”.
According to the attorney, the witness on that occasion had “set up” her client and the other individual.
Also yesterday, attorney Zara Lewis, who is appearing for the accused Roel Taylor, said his presence in the dock was a case of mistaken identity. According to the lawyer, the witness, based on his own admission, did not know the difference between the accused and his identical twin and so was capable of implicating the wrong man.
The trial will resume on Monday.