Bermuda: There are “a whole series of reasons” why a man accused of a gang-related murder would “want payback,” a prosecutor told a jury.
Antonio Myers, 25, admitted through his lawyer yesterday that he is a member of the Middletown gang.
Prosecutors allege he was responsible for shooting Kumi Harford, a high ranking member of the rival 42 gang, as part of an ongoing feud between the two factions.
Mr Myers denies responsibility for killing Mr Harford who was shot as he sat in his car on St Monica’s Road around 5am on December 5 2009.
His two-week trial has heard evidence the victim attended a party at Devonshire Recreation Club just an hour-and-a-half before he was shot dead on St Monica’s Road.
At that time, according to Crown witness Mandaya Thomas, a man named David Cox was involved in a drink-throwing altercation with a woman named “Neika”.
According to Police gang expert Alexander Rollin, “Neika” is the mother of a Middletown gang member, Yusef [JuJu] Williams, and the aunt of one of Antonio Myers’ two girlfriends, Rogernae Lightbourne.
Sgt Rollin explained “Neika” lived in a yellow house in Middletown where the gang associated with that neighbourhood is known to congregate, including Mr Myers.
Sgt Rollin told the jury about the ongoing feud where the Middletown gang and its allies in the Parkside gang have been locked in deadly rivalry with the 42 gang.
He added that in the gang mentality, an attack on one member is perceived as an attack on the gang as a whole.
Ms Thomas said when she saw Mr Harford, 30, in St Monica’s Road later that night, she warned him to get off the street because of the incident that unfolded at the club.
However, he was shot dead a short time later in an attack that saw 12 bullets fired at him as he sat in his car.
When he opened the trial on March 14, Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said there was a direct link between the incident at Devonshire Rec and the shooting around 90 minutes later.
Yesterday, in his closing speech, he said the alleged motive for the murder was “a quick reaction to an insult” and “the defendant had absolutely every reason to be the person who gave payback to that insult to Neika”.
He explained: “There are a whole series of reasons for the defendant, who wanted some payback [to commit the crime]. To do something for his new girlfriend Rogernae, because he’s in the process of swapping from his baby-mother to Rogernae.
“He’s got the insult to the woman whose house he hangs out at. And there’s the general rule that when you attack one person, you attack the whole gang.
“So he’s got lots of motive to want to sort something out. To do payback.”
The jury has also heard allegations during the case that Mr Myers threw his clothes on a bonfire near the same yellow house in Middletown a short time after the murder.
Prosecutors say he did this to get rid of the evidence. However, armed police who were hunting Mr Harford’s killer found the bonfire, extinguished it, and recovered some partially-burnt clothes including jeans and a sock.
Those items were discovered to have Mr Myers’s DNA on them, as well as gun shot residue.
The trial heard evidence from two homeless drug addicts, Edwin Darrell, 55, and Andrew Laws, 52, which prosecutors say shows Mr Myers is guilty.
Mr Darrell said Mr Myers confessed to the crime and asked for help to destroy his clothes. Mr Laws said Mr Myers talked about destroying his clothes and asked him about DNA evidence.
Prosecutor Mr Field told the jury it was “pretty stupid” of Mr Myers to try to burn his clothes in Middletown, where police were bound to be hunting the shooter.
He said the clothes police recovered from the flames were “some critical evidence against the defendant”.
He added: “If the police hadn’t found those clothes burning and those older men hadn’t had the courage to come before this court, he would have got away with it scot-free. It would just be another case in Bermuda. But he made a mistake. He thought Mr Laws and Mr Darrell were not as brave as they were.”
Mr Myers denies murder and using a firearm and the case continues.