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Man to hang for Moruga murder
A man was sentenced to death by hanging yesterday for the murder of Imo Pope, who was shot outside a cocoa house in Moruga five years ago. Justice Devan Rampersad read the death sentence to Nigel Caraballo, 26, after a jury returned a guilty verdict against him after an hour of deliberations.
Caraballo, also known as Nigel Reviero, went on trial for Pope’s murder three weeks ago in the San Fernando High Court. Pope, 26, was shot in the face on the Moruga Old Road on March 7, 2007. The State, led by Shabana Shah, led no evidence about anyone actually seeing Caraballo shoot Pope.
However, the prosecution called two witnesses, Caraballo’s neighbour, Issador Navarro, 90, and Anton Alexander, who both said they saw Caraballo with a gun around the same time Pope was killed. Alexander, who is serving prison time, was deemed a hostile witness because he gave conflicting evidence in his statement and during the preliminary inquiry.
However, Alexander said he and Pope were at the cocoa house when Caraballo walked past them with a gun. Alexander said he heard a loud explosion and got up and ran. As he was running, he heard another shot and felt a burning sensation on his arm and chest.
Navarro testified that he was on top of his cocoa house drying cocoa when he saw Caraballo running from his aunt’s house to Caraballo’s home. Five minutes after, he said, he saw Caraballo passing on a back road holding a “long gun.”
Navarro said he then heard one gunshot and then “another bounce.” He said he saw a Rastaman with a wound running and the man jumped over his fence. He said he later told Caraballo someone had been shot and Caraballo said he did not know anything about that.
Caraballo did not take the witness stand, but through his attorneys, Senior Counsel Sophia Chote and Trevor Clarke, claimed he was not at the cocoa house when Pope was shot.
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