A man who spent 11 years in jail on a murder charge walked free yesterday because the State could not find three witnesses —including it’s main witness — to testify in the matter.
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6 people murdered in 24 hours
Another bloody weekend in T&T leaves six dead in 24 hours. Among them is a 13-year-old boy who was gunned down just outside his home. Tragedy swept Trinidad’s West, South and Tobago between Friday and yesterday, leaving families scrambling to come to terms with the violence that entered their homes. The murder toll for the year now stands at 237. The tragedy began on Friday night when Dayron Baker, 13, was killed mere metres from his Cizan Trace home in Diego Martin.
The boy, a Standard Five pupil at the Patna River Estate Primary School, left his home just before 9 pm on Friday and was headed to his grandmother’s shop two houses away to buy two band-aids when gunshots rang out. His distraught mother Natalie Baggan said even though she ran out and saw his bullet-riddled body, she still could not believe her son was dead. “I hear the shots and bawl out his name because I know he now leave, and the shots was so close, so loud,” Baggan said.
Baker was the fourth of 14 children. When the Sunday Guardian visited the scene yesterday, the small children seemed to understand their mother’s grief. One girl, Baker’s younger sister, continually stroked her mother’s face, wiping away her tears. “He was always with me, always with me. If I had to go anywhere, he was always coming with me,” Baggan said. She said since the killing, she has had to walk back and forth along the same path where her son was murdered.
“When I run out last night and see his body, his blood was running down the hill towards my foot,” she recalled. “I have to pass there...it still have blood there,” she said. Baggan and husband Dexter Baker said Dayron was never involved in criminal activity, but they had a theory. “I think they came for someone else, and I think he saw who they were and they killed him to keep him quiet,” his father Baker said. “The people had to know the area, they had to know where they were coming.”
During the short interview, Dayron’s older brother became visibly agitated. “The police know who kill him, they know who kill my brother and they keeping quiet,” he said, walking off into the house. Western Division Police, led by Senior Superintendent Ishmael David, have not ruled out gang-related activity. In a subsequent interview with the Sunday Guardian, David said police investigators had linked one of Dayron’s relatives to criminal activity.
“We do not believe it was mistaken identity, we believe he was killed for his association,” David said. Police are continuing investigations. Police are also investigating the murder of a man in the Beetham. The man was not identified up to late yesterday. The Sunday Guardian understands that around 9.25 on Friday night, residents reported hearing loud explosions near First Street. Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force responded and found a man, believed to be in his 20s, with several gunshot wounds to his body.
The unidentified man was pronounced dead on the scene. Meanwhile, the mayhem continued in South, where the mother of 32-year-old Corey Alexander vowed that her son’s killers would be caught in three days. Some time between 2 am and 6 am, intruders entered the downstairs apartment of Alexander’s Siparia home. His body bore multiple chop wounds to the neck and chest. Investigators believe he was killed as he slept. His body, clad in underwear, was found crouched at the base of his bed.
Over $50,000 worth of jewelry, clothing, and sneakers were missing from the apartment. Mother Christiana Alexander, 54, dropped to her knees and kissed the ground where the murderers walked, vowing that within three days they would be caught. Alexander’s mother pushed aside the police and prayed over the bloodied corpse of her son, who was expected to be baptised today at the Couva Pentecostal Church.
Curtis, the murdered man’s father, said he last spoke to his son around 10.30 pm. “I went to sleep after he came home and when I woke up around 6 am, I saw his door open,” Curtis recalled. He said he woke up his wife and around 7.30 am she went to check on Alexander. “It was heartbreaking because he did not deserve this. He was our only child,” Curtis said. Christiana was inconsolable as she raced around the house shouting praises to Jesus and begging God to catch the killers.
“Let this crime be solved. I’m giving it three days. Thank you Jesus for the police and for sending appointed people. I forgive you murderers! Murderers, I forgive you!” she cried. Police believe the killers ran through the back of the house after committing the murder. A source said, two weeks ago Alexander received a death threat and reported it to the police.
At another murder scene at Sisters Road, Hardbargain, relatives were mourning the death of contractor Lisa Espinoza, 52, who was shot in the back while she and her husband Ramesh Ramdeo were paying wages. Police said the workers were standing in a line waiting to be paid, when the robbers approached and opened fire. They snatched $30,000 in cash and took off.
The couple were sub-contracted at a construction project off Rivulet Road, Couva. Senior officers have since issued a warning to businesspeople to stop paying wages in cash. In a separate incident, Marvin Campbell, 40, of Sobo Village, La Brea, was also gunned down on Friday evening while he sat outside Dream Girls Restaurant and Bar at Vessigny Village. Last night, two suspects aged 34 and 36, of Morvant and Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, were in police custody.
Campbell’s family, who migrated to New York, were expected to return to Trinidad last night. Police said Campbell was shot at around 6.15 pm. The killers sped off but police set up a dragnet and intercepted the suspects at Dow Village, Oropouche. Police found a 9 mm Glock pistol in the car. Autopsies are expected to be done on the bodies of Campbell, Alexander and Espinoza tomorrow at the Forensic Science Centre. Investigations are continuing.
Tobago businessman killed
Meanwhile, in Tobago, a brazen daylight shooting in Scarborough, yesterday, left businessman Nigel “Red Man” Fraser, 43, of Sangster’s Hill, dead. According to reports, the shooting occurred shortly after 10 am at Fraser’s clothing store, Red Man’s Fashion, located upstairs the 7+7 Chinese Restaurant on Wilson Road.
The Sunday Guardian understands that Fraser was sitting in front of his establishment when an unmasked man walked up to him and opened fire. He was shot in the abdomen. He was rushed to the Scarborough General Hospital where he died while undergoing emergency surgery. Eyewitnesses said the assailant escaped in a gold Nissan Almera, registration number PCK 5539.
A police source told the Sunday Guardian that robbery may have been the motive, since Fraser’s trademark gold chain with a pendant of the Coat of Arms of T&T valued at $300,000 was missing. Police have put out an all-points bulletin for the gold Nissan Almera. The occupants are said to be armed and dangerous. People with information are advised to contact the nearest police station. This brings Tobago’s murder toll to 4 for 2014. The Tobago Homicide Bureau is investigating.