Free my gangsters
Klansman leader asks judge to have mercy on fellow criminals; says he holds no grudges
Klansman gang leader Andre "Blackman" Bryan (left) and a co-accused, Jermain Robinson, leave the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston on March 7, 2023.

CONVICTED leader of St Catherine-based Klansman Gang Andre "Blackman" Bryan, in a soul-baring address ahead of his sentencing next week, has declared he harbours no ill will towards his henchmen, the trial judge Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, prosecutors, police, nor a top-flight investigator who was part of the team that brought him down.

On Tuesday a haggard-looking Bryan — his short, reddish-brown, spiky locks forming a halo of sorts around his head, his gaunt face bearded with a moustache, wide eyed and almost wild — during a 10-minute window granted by the trial judge after a jaunty "Mawnin" said, "this, as you say, is for the greater good and I don't have anything against the prosecutor, [name of investigator redacted], the police, the chief himself, the accused".

In October 2021 Witness Number Two, one of two former gang members-turned-Crown witness, told the court that a plot being hatched by Klansman gangsters to murder the senior sleuth, who is attached to the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), was the main prompt for him to leave their ranks.

"I didn't want to be part of that so I sent out a notice, I asked someone to contact the police. I didn't want to be part of this gang so I contact them and start to talk to them," the witness said at the time.

On Tuesday Bryan, in soliciting mercy for his remaining 14 co-convicts, said he should have been the one to take the rap as he was the one who led them down the path for which they are now before the court.

"All these accused they have been around me, yes, but they don't know; they only see what the eyes see, no one knows. The truth must be told. I give orders, instructions, they were all under influence; same fi the witnesses who get pardoned — mi nuh know a who pardon dem," stated Bryan who was known by the monikers "Teacha, Di General, Di G and Blackman".

"By precept all a dem should have been pardoned and you take me in account. The accused, all of them should have been pardoned by you and you take me into account. That's all that I want to say," Bryan, who spliced his address with scriptural references, ended somewhat tremulously.

In March this year Justice Sykes said that Bryan, from the evidence in the case, was a "micromanager" who meticulously designed and sequenced how he wanted crimes to be carried out by his minions "from Genesis to Revelations".

In noting the level of organisation and instructions which preceded a killing or shooting carried out by the gang, the trial judge said Bryan "is a planner and has the characteristics of a micromanager, leaving nothing to chance".

"That is his disposition; that is one of the things we are looking for in the evidence because if persons have a particular disposition, it is going to come out in the evidence. He is detailed, specific," Justice Sykes said.

The trial judge made the observation while reviewing the evidence of a Crown witness in the case regarding an unindicted incident in 2017 in which Bryan allegedly gave instructions to his underlings to "mash up dah yute deh a Super Plus".

In assessing how the 2018 murder of a deported Rastaman on Jones Avenue, Spanish Town, unfolded and the actions of the shooters, the trial judge said, "We can see the disposition of Mr Bryan emerging here because these men are not going to exercise their independent [streak]. That is the disposition here — he is a planner from beginning to end."

The sentencing exercise will resume next Monday, October 2 at the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston where the trial judge will begin dishing the sentences for the 15 convicts in the long-running matter. He is expected to conclude on Tuesday, October 3.

The convicted Klansman members, to be sentenced alongside James, Bryan and McLean are: Stephanie Cole-Christie, Michael Whitely, Lamar Simpson, Tareek James, Fabian Johnson, Jahzeel Blake, Roel Taylor, Joseph McDermott, Jermaine Robinson, Andrae Golding, Tomrick Taylor, Brian Morris, and Ted Prince.

The Crown, in opening its case on September 20, 2021 with an initial 33 accused on trial, had said the individuals comprised the "Blackman faction" of the gang and had various roles in which they acted as killers, drivers, lookout men or watchmen, gunsmiths and foot soldiers.

The 17 who were acquitted over the course of the trial were Jason Brown O/C Citypuss, Marco Miller, Pete Miller, Ricardo Thomas, Carl Beech, Chevroy Evans, Kemar Harrison, Donovan Richards, Dwight Hall, Daniel McKenzie, Kalifa Williams, Kevaughn Green, Damaine Elliston, Rushane Williams, Rivaldo Hylton, Owen Ormsby, and Dwayne Salmon.

One accused, Andre Smith, who was out on bail during the trial, was murdered.

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter

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