(Graphic: Rorie Atkinson)
Accused gangster used name when threatening and extorting people

Residents and business owners in St Catherine, Jamaica, who are unfortunate enough to fall under the thumb of the notorious Klansman Gang know only too well what a call from “Lucifer” means.

This is the evidence of Witness Number One, a former member of the criminal organisation turned State witness, who has been regaling the court with countless stories of the escapades of his former allies.

In the latest round, the witness, who was on Thursday recalled to the stand, provided the court with the finer details relating to the recordings of conversations between himself and the gangsters which he clandestinely taped and handed over to police investigators.

The witness — in being led through the first 77 minutes of the recording of an April 4, 2019 phone call between himself and the sole female accused Stephanie Christie, alias Mumma, and the mysterious co-conspirator so far only identified as “City Puss” — said City Puss had adopted the moniker Lucifer when carrying out his extortion activities.

The information emerged while the witness was providing details about a discussion during the call about a property that Christie had occupied but was being claimed by relatives, to her chagrin.

“So right dere an den now, mi a go waan yuh haffi page one a dem,” Christie said.

City Puss, whom the witness has described as “evil”, responded, “Cyaan use dem style deh pon wi, yuh mad? Get mi a number mek mi chat to dem. Yeah man, from mi call dem and tell dem a Lucifer, man, mi nuh ha nuh wing yah now, man. Lucifer, man. Back up offa man ting.”

When Christie added, “Di man dem mek mi uncomfortable,” City Puss, for good measure, said “Yow, mi seh jus' get di number.”

He further told Christie, who said she was going to move out and leave one bed in the dwelling, that she should do what she wanted, but warned her against handing over the keys.

According to the witness, a call from City Puss in that instance meant that he was going to “threaten them to let them know they could not have the building”.

Asked to explain what “paging” meant, the witness said, “Basically, when yuh page a person, depending on the situation, sometimes you can go to them and threaten them and it can also mean yuh hurt the person.”

The witness, explaining this machination, said, “Basically, he normally send someone with a phone to the person if he doesn't have a number for the person, so he would send someone with the phone to them, like when he want to extort somebody, [and then call that phone and speak to the individual], he would say he is Lucifer,” the witness claimed.

Asked how he knew about this, the witness said, “He sent to a few shops in Lauriston that he want $5,000 weekly and said his name is Lucifer. I heard about it and told 'Blackman' and he put a stop to it. He also told me that's the name he used,” the witness declared.

Blackman is the alias of Andre Bryan, who police say is the leader of the gang.

Lauriston is a community in Catherine for which the witness had earlier testified that he was the don.

In the meantime, City Puss gave his prescription for the treatment of the “dawgs” versus the “Jankcrows” (carrion-eating birds) the two categories into which he had divided the gangsters who were taking sides.

“All a who yuh si a tek side, it inna dem blood, dem a corruption. Yuh can't deal wid di two a dem same way... when yuh can stone di dawg, yuh haffi shoot di jankcrow. A so yuh haffi deal wid dem wan deh from Spanish Town,” he stated.

He further declared that when the gang regained its footing, with its leader back in the saddle, a “new breed” of members would have to be recruited.

“Some likkle yute who nuh know nutten... Wi haffi instruct dem and groom dem... so dem don't get bad mind,” he offered.

The witness, in explaining the statements by City Puss, claimed that the alleged gangster was minded to “get rid” of the older set of gang members “and get young ones and train dem fi kill”.

“Majority of those who lose their father in the gang was taken out by City Puss, so him a seh corruption; a pure mind game him play,” the witness alleged.

During the phone call the court also heard the three individuals plotting the demise of three of the accused — Marco Miller, alias Hezzie; Andre Smtih, also called Bolo; and Pete Miller, alias Smokie — who they referred to as being “unda style”.

Hezzie and Smokie are brothers, the court was told.

According to the witness, having them “unda style” was a “mind game” the gangsters “played” with individuals they planned to kill. In this case it was the three who were from the Waterloo Lane area of Spanish Town, which was allegedly controlled by Hezzie.

“Yuh pretend like yuh wid a person but yuh not wid dem. Yuh want dem feel comfortable around yuh, so yuh treat dem like a friend jus' so yuh can get close to dem and hurt dem… so yuh style dem, set dem up, an' get rid of dem,” the witness explained.

Meanwhile, the three, during the call, ranted over several issues, including backstabbing fellow cronies and the apparently dwindling finances of the criminal organisation since the incarceration of Bryan.

Christie, who the witness has said is a pastor and who was arrested on the grounds of her St Thomas church, in an expletive-laced rant, lamented the absence of loyalty amongst the remaining members of the gang, charging that “Di bwoy dem a hitch while we a defend Hombre (another alias for Bryan)”.

Christie — who the witness had said was prone to be abrasive and controlling during meetings of the gang — ironically told her calling partners that she would be getting into her car to talk to them as “Bush have ears”, not knowing that she was being taped and her comments would be shared with the police.

The three, during the call, discussed another gang member — who has since turned Crown witness — accusing him of being less than truthful about the funds belonging to the gang of which he was trustee. The embittered gangsters charged that the individual, alias Biggs, was “shorting” them and instructing them to tell Hombre that “nutten nah gwaan”.

“Mi cyaan tell di man dat,” City Puss declared.

“Tief, dem nuh know nutten 'bout loyalty, a jus' money dem inna, a hustle dem a hustle, man dem nah try build nutten,” he declared.

He further expressed disgust over the fact that members of the gang had died and could not be given a proper burial while others who were behind bars and offered bail could not get their freedom because of the gang's pitiful coffers.

“Mi haffi go dung inna some strong prayer and fasting,” Christie volunteered, in noting the plight of two individuals.

In the meantime, the Crown on Thursday took pains to highlight the names called by the three gangsters during the discussion. The three, during their conversation at one point or another acknowledged that they fell next in line to Bryan in the hierarchy of the gang and called names, including several of the accused who are now on trial.

The move is meant to strengthen the Crown's case under count two of the indictment which charges all 33 accused with being members of a criminal organisation, and count one which charges Bryan with leadership of a criminal organisation.

The trial, which is being presided over by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes in the Home Circuit Division of the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston, resumes at 10:00 this morning.

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

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