Friday, 03 March 2023 12:38

Klansman ship sinking as Blackman, others, found guilty of murder and other charges

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CHIEF Justice Bryan Sykes has said that Andre "Blackman" Bryan — the man he on Monday declared was leader of the St Catherine-based Klansman gang — 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".

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". A branch of the Super Plus supermarket chain was said to be located on territory controlled by rival gangsters in Spanish Town.

According to Witness Number Two, a former gangster turned Crown witness, Bryan had called him and told him to pick up an individual known as Satan and the accused Chevroy Evans, o/c Kartel, at a location and to also tell the accused Andre Golding, o/c Rae Tae Blacks, to drive out a grey Nissan Tiida motor car, one of the infamous "duppy trucks" used only during shootings and killings.

According to the witness, once on the scene, it was Evans and the individual known as Satan who got out of the car and walked towards the victim. Satan reportedly shot him several times and he fell to the ground, after which they ran back to the car which was driven by Golding.

"The cumulative effect of this narrative is that when Mr Bryan spoke to him, Mr Bryan gave him from Genesis to Revelation as far as his plan was concerned, and who would be killed, where to go, who to pick up and post shooting where to leave them [shooters]," the trial judge said.

He said the evidence, if accepted, would show that Evans was a gang member and Bryan was a "prime mover" and Golding part of the organisation by virtue of his management and driving of the duppy trucks.

He further said the evidence of the witness gave an "overall pattern of the style of Bryan as a planner of events".

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.

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."

According to the Crown, on the day in question the accused Brian Morris and Michael Whitely were the designated shooters, Witness Number Two was the driver, an individual called Mackerel was the lookout, and the accused Ted Prince was to collect the guns from the shooters afterwards so that in the event the car they were in was intercepted by the police the guns would not be found. The shooters were ordered to make their way by foot to the Shelter Rock community and meet up with the car. Prince had not been indicted for the offence.

Witness Number One had also testified that Bryan gave instructions that Morris was to be the main shooter as Whitely was known on Jones Avenue. He said Bryan had also told Morris that he would have to hold the bottom of the gun because the clip was slack and the magazine could fall out when he was doing the shooting. He told the court that Morris and Whitley had approached the Rastaman, who was standing near to a shop, and when Morris took out his gun and began firing the magazine fell out like Bryan had warned. Whitley then pulled his firearm and fired at the man while Morris retrieved the magazine, replaced it, and fired at the man, who had fallen to the ground, before they both ran off.

Justice Sykes on Thursday said, "This again demonstrated his detailed disposition."

He said this was also evidenced in how Witness Number Two, the self-proclaimed banker for the gang, on receiving a request from the shooters for money to buy food called Bryan to tell him and was instructed to give them $8,000.

"A micromanaging disposition there," the trial judge said.

Meanwhile, in continuing to hand down verdicts in the long-running matter, Justice Sykes on Thursday declared Bryan, Whitely, and Morris guilty of that same murder, stating that he accepted the evidence of the witnesses in the matter and the forensic evidence.

In a further finding, Bryan and his supposed sharpshooter bodyguard Tareek James, O/C CJ, were declared "guilty" of engineering the murder of an individual called Outlaw in Lauriston, St Catherine, in 2017. Bryan and James had been charged under counts 11 and 12 of the indictment with facilitating that murder, along with several other accused. While the other accused were acquitted of those charges, the trial judge said he found that Bryan planned the killing and James availed himself to see that it was done.

And on Thursday morning Bryan and nine of his co-accused were found "not guilty " of four murders committed between 2017 and 2018 in Spanish Town. The entire 26 remaining accused, however, remain on trial.

As it relates to those "not guilty" declarations, Bryan and his co-accused Jahzeel Blake, Andre Golding, and Tareek James were acquitted of facilitating the 2017 murder of a bus driver in the Spanish Town bus park.

Additionally, Golding, Chevroy Evans, and Marco Miller were declared "not guilty" of facilitating the murder of another bus driver known as Tesha Bus driver in the same park, also in 2017.

In the meantime, the accused Daniel McKenzie, Marco Miller, Dwight Hall, Pete Miller, and Kemar Harrison were all declared "not guilty" in respect of a 2018 double murder involving "two unknown individuals in Spanish Town". The two men were said to be from Denham Town. A search for their bodies had led to the discovery of the infamous Klansman Cemetry on Waterloo Lane in Spanish Town.

The matter resumes at 10 on Monday morning at the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston.