(CNS): Osbourne Douglas (29) and Justin Ramoon (24) were found guilty Thursday of killing Jason Powery following a judge alone trial last month. Justice Charles Quin said he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that it was Ramoon who had shot the West Bay man in the face using a loaded 9mm handgun given to him just minutes before by his brother, Douglas, who picked up his younger sibling seconds after the murder outside the Globe Bar in Martin Lane last July. The judge found both men were responsible for the murder and both had possessed the weapon in a joint enterprise.
As Justice Quin delivered a three-hour verdict, Ramoon, who was slouched in the dock, and Douglas remained largely impassive as it became apparent the judge believed the two eyewitness accounts on which the bulk of the crown’s case was based. He found that the crown had proved its case, in which the two local men did not take the stand in their own defence.
During police interviews Douglas and Ramoon admitted to being in the area on the night of the fatal shooting because they lived very close to the location but they denied the charges, stating they had nothing to do with the killing. During the trial they claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity by the two eyewitnesses, who they said were gang members with criminal records, were unreliable and had reason to lie and blame others as they were both suspects. One of the witnesses is also facing a firearms charge and the brothers’ attorneys had suggested he had given evidence in the murder trial hoping to bargain a lighter sentence in his own case.
But Justice Quin said he found both of the crown’s key witnesses to be truthful and reliable, with their evidence being supported by CCTV evidence and shell casings.
During the trial the crown had not offered a motive as to why the brothers had shot and killed 20-year-old Powery, who had gone to the George Town bar from West Bay with the two witnesses, who were his friends. However, during the investigation the police stated that they believed the murder was a gang-related killing.
The brothers were remanded in custody in the wake of the verdict until 14 July, when they will be sentenced for both the unlicensed firearm and, as a result of the new conditional release law, the murder.
Under the new legislation, which abolishes the concept of a life sentence without parole, which was previously given for murder, the brothers will be given a minimum tariff, which will be the time they must serve before becoming eligible for consideration for parole. The law sets the guideline at thirty years but judges are required to consider a list of aggravating and mitigating factors before setting the minimum jail term. Consideration will also be given to the men’s previous criminal records.
This is the second time that Douglas has been convicted of murder. In September 2010 he and two other men were convicted of killing Omar Samuels in a July 2009 shooting in McField Square. Samuels bled to death from a gunshot wound to the leg.
However, in November 2011 Douglas was acquitted of the killing by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, which found the evidence had been too weak in the case and the trial should have been stopped after a no case submission by the defence. He was also acquitted of a firearms charge in 2012 after a judge threw out the case for lack of evidence.
Douglas has also been named but not charged in other serious crimes, including being the second gunman in the Bonaventure Boys home shootings in 2010, for which Raziel Jeffers was convicted of killing Marcus Ebanks (18) and trying to kill Adrian Powell, who was just 14 at the time.
Ramoon is also known to the authorities. He was convicted in July 2013 for wounding with intent and sentenced to seven years in connection with a stabbing in 2012, but the Court of Appeal also overturned that verdict in 2014 as a result of the judge’s failure to give jurors a specific warning about identification evidence. He was also convicted of possession of an imitation firearm when he was just 18 in early 2010, for which he had received a three-year term.