Security guard says she found gun in pat-down

| 14/07/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courthouse, George Town

(CNS): A security guard who was working on the door of the Everglo Bar in Bodden Town last summer told a court that she found a handgun on Jose ‘Pito’ Sanchez (29) during a pat down as he was heading into the bar on the night of 4 July 2015. Deborah Johnson said that when she refused him entry into the bar until he had disposed of the weapon, he begged her to let him in with it, asking her if she “wanted somebody to come and kill” him. Sanchez has denied ever having the weapon, which police later recovered from another man at Chester’s Restaurant.

Sanchez’ trial for possession of an unlicensed firearm, which opened Wednesday, is being heard by Justice Charles Quin without a jury.

Patrick Moran, the deputy director of public prosecutions, set out the crown’s case against the West Bay man, who was staying in Bodden Town at the time of his arrest. He said that after Johnson had patted Sanchez down and found the handgun, the police were alerted.

As their patrol cars pulled in to the car park, Sanchez tried to hand the weapon to another man, Sean-Luke Dunbar, who was nearby, but he refused to take the gun. Sanchez then pushed the firearm on Dunbar’s girlfriend, Ashleigh Terry, who took the weapon and hid it in the car park.

When the police arrived they arrested Sanchez, even though he no longer had the gun, and took him to the police station.

Jose Sanchez

Jose Sanchez

About a half hour later, Dunbar retrieved the weapon and left the Everglo with Terry, taking a ride from another man to Chester’s, a short distance away. But the police followed the car and when it pulled into the restaurant, they approached the couple and the driver and found in Dunbar’s pocket what was said to be Sanchez’ gun, a 9mm semi-automatic loaded with six live rounds.

Moran told the court that Dunbar was arrested and has since been charged and pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm. Terry has also admitted accessory to possession of an unlicensed weapon and the couple are both expected to testify against Sanchez. He said that a forensic examination revealed that Sanchez’ DNA was on the gun.

The senior prosecutor said that their accounts corroborate the evidence given by Johnson, who said that when the police arrived she saw Sanchez try to give the gun to Dunbar, and after he refused to take it he passed it to Terry, who took it away and hid it.

Dunbar has admitted retrieving the weapon after Sanchez was arrested and taking it to Chester’s. Sanchez and the couple were all living in apartments close to the restaurant at the time.

Under cross-examination, Johnson denied that she had refused entry to Sanchez because he was trying to get into the bar carrying a bottle of booze, or that she had made up the allegation that Sanchez had the gun in order to get a reward.

Sanchez’ defence attorney, Guy Dillway-Parry from Priestleys, implied that because Sanchez had a reputation with the police and had been before the courts they would believe her story.

However, the security guard insisted that she had felt and seen the weapon on him and had refused to let him in because of that and not because of the bottle. Johnson claimed that at the time she had texted her boss and a special constable to let them know that Sanchez was urging her to let him in the bar with his gun.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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