Retired cop recalls emotional aftermath of child’s murder

| 07/12/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Devon Anglin

(CNS): Retired detective chief inspector Peter Kennett, testifying in court Friday, recalled the emotional scenes when he arrived at the hospital on the night 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes was shot dead. Kennett returned to Cayman to give evidence in the murder trial of Devon Anglin, who is accused of being the masked gunman that opened fire on the Barnes family car and killed the child in February 2010 at Hell gas station in West Bay.

Kennett was off duty at the time but Police Commissioner David Baines called him and asked him to take charge of the investigation, he said.

Despite the passage of time, the senior officer recalled how family members were shocked, angry, upset and traumatized when he arrived at the George Town hospital. He confirmed seeing the lifeless body of Jeremiah in the operating theatre, where medics had fought to try and save the child.

He said he could remember very clearly the first words from the child’s father, Andy Barnes. “He told me, ‘Devon Anglin shot my yout’.’ He repeated it time and time again,” Kennett said, as he explained the decision he made to take a statement from Barnes so soon after the murder.

He explained that under normal circumstances police would wait for a short time to take such important evidence because the immediate aftermath of a killing was probably the “worst time in the world” to talk to witnesses. With hindsight, he would probably not have made that decision and would have allowed the dust to settle, he said, but at the time he had concerns, based on past experience, of the reluctance of witnesses to give evidence and it seemed sensible to get an early account.

Kennett said he was not suggesting that the Barnes family would not have followed through with the evidence but in past shootings, even victims were reluctant to talk about who shot them and he said the police were concerned about the problem of people seeking their own retribution.

He said Barnes wanted to talk and so, even though he was very emotional and in shock, he put on a “brave face” and got through a statement naming Anglin as his son’s killer.

He pointed out that Barnes was also traumatized because he knew that he was the intended target of the gunman as the shooting was believed to be gang related.

Kennett confirmed that Anglin was arrested later that night and was eventually charged with Jeremiah’s murder. He also confirmed that he had instructed officers who interviewed Anglin to video tape the interview. He said that several other individuals were arrested that night but none of them were charged.

As the crown called further police witnesses Friday, several recalled how the Barnes family car, a white Malibu Chevrolet, arrived at the West Bay police station and how Barnes was screaming and crying outside in the parking lot shouting, “They just killed my baby!” One officer said that Barnes was swinging punches and screaming at Austin Jackson, a local man from West Bay believed to be a rival gang member. Police witnesses also recalled how the child’s mother was sitting in the car holding Jeremiah, who had been shot in the head, as they called for an ambulance.

The shooting had taken place just a few hundred yards from the West Bay Police Station and as he sped away from the gunman Barnes had driven straight there.

Anglin is on trial for the second time. He was acquitted following a judge alone hearing before visiting judge Justice Cooke in 2011, who rejected the evidence of both of Jeremiah’s parents. The crown successfully appealed that ruling and a retrial was ordered. Anglin opted again for a judge alone trial and this time the case is before Justice Charles Quin.

The case continues.

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