Killers still unknown a decade later

| 11/06/2021 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service
Preston Rivers (left) and Anthony Connor

(CNS): Two unresolved deaths were confirmed as unlawful killings by the Coroners Court on Thursday, when the jury heard the details of how the men were shot and killed in two separate murders in 2011 and 2013 in what police believe were gang-related crimes. Preston Ezekiel Rivers was just 18 years old when he was gunned down by a still unknown assailant outside his West Bay home almost a decade ago.

Anthony James Connor (32) was shot in the car park of Mango Tree in October 2013 and his killer is also still a mystery. Both cases remain cold as there are currently no new or live leads to follow, but detectives told the inquest juries that the cases will be revisited in the future.

But as the courts have never concluded a criminal case or even charged anyone for either of these unsolved homicides, the Coroners Court is tasked with confirming the manner of the men’s demise.

The jury heard how Rivers was shot three times, once in the back and twice in the head, shortly after he stepped out of his girlfriend’s car at Thatch Palm Villas, a condo complex off Andersen Road in the Birch Tree Hill area, after the couple and a close friend returned from collecting food at about 10pm on 17 September 2011.

Detective Peter Dean from the RCIPS Serious Crime Review team explained that when the shots rang out, both of Rivers’ friends were still in the car, which was also fired at, and as a result they sped away from the shooting straight to West Bay Police Station a few minutes drive away. Neither of them saw the shooter and were only able to give the vaguest of descriptions, which under the circumstances was not surprising, Dean said. He noted that there was never any evidence to suggest that either of them were withholding information or had anything to do with Rivers’ murder.

Dean said that Preston may not have been a hardcore gang member, but he was affiliated with the local well-known gang, Logwoods, and his killing was the third in what turned out to be the gunning down of four young men in the space of a week. He described it as a terrible time for the Cayman Islands that had started with the fatal shooting of Robert Bush on Birch Tree Hill Road just a few nights before. Brian Borden has been convicted of his murder and is serving a life tariff of 34 years.

After that Andrew Baptist (24) was shot multiple times by two masked men while sitting outside a property in Sand Hole Road. Although two men were arrested in that case, no one has ever been charged. Two days later Rivers was killed.

The last victim in this specific week of violence was Jason Christian, who was shot dead while sitting in a van in Crewe Road on 20 September. Keith Montague was also in the van with Christian, and although severely injured, he survived the ordeal. No one has ever been charged for this shooting either. The detective did note, however, that a gun that could have been the murder weapon in the Rivers case was found in the van at that murder scene.

Dozens of police officers had come from the UK during this period to help solve the gang-related killings as well as help with law enforcement. Dean explained how, even to this day, no one knows for sure what triggered that spate of gang violence, but he said the reasons were often “so, so pathetic really”, as he emphasized the tragic loss of life of these young men. In this case, the police had suspected that a possible motive was that Preston’s girlfriend was the ex-lover of, and baby mother to, a rival gang member.

He also noted that Rivers was “not much more than a boy really” and would still have had the potential to turn his life around, but was never given the chance.

Although, Rivers was the victim in what police said was tit-for-tat violence between the Birch Tree Hill and Logwoods gangs and there had been a number of suspects, no one was ever charged. During the course of the last decade, several other young West Bay men have been suspected of being the shooter, some of which are currently serving long prison sentences for other crimes and others who have themselves succumbed to the gang violence and been shot and killed.

The jury established during the course of the inquest that Rivers was the intended target and that there was no evidence in the case to suggest that he was somehow an accidental victim. While the forensic and medical evidence cannot give a precise picture of the sequence of shots, in totality all of the evidence pointed towards a scenario where Rivers was first shot in the back from some distance by his attacker. Then, as he fell to the ground, the gunman then came closer and shot him in the head twice, making the likelihood of mistaken identity very unlikely. The gunman had also fired at the car as Rivers’ girlfriend made her escape from the violent scene.

Having confirmed Rivers’ death as an unlawful killing, the court moved on to consider another unsolved murder that happened two years later, and if not directly gang-related, had an organised crime connection.

Anthony Connor (32), aka “Beenie”, was shot and killed outside Mango Tree on 11 October 2013 as a result of a single bullet wound to his chest from what was believed to be a lone gunman. Connor had just recently been released from Northward after serving a lengthy sentence for armed robbery at the long-gone Durty Reids restaurant. Detective Sean Bryan, who has taken over this cold file, explained the circumstances of the case, the investigation and the lack of any real evidence in the case and the fact that no one has ever been charged with his killing.

But he said it was likely that after living a life of crime, Connor, who was very well known to police, had cultivated many enemies. His phones had revealed that, having been released from prison, he had returned to a life of crime.

Just before he was shot and killed, CCTV had captured him walking through the car park at Mango Tree with a casual girlfriend and another man who was never identified. They were heading towards a meeting with another man by the name of Whittaker, who had arranged to meet with Connor.

During the meeting with Connor and as he was standing in the doorway of Whittaker’s car, he was shot and killed. No one was able to see or identify the gunman, and despite a multitude of cameras at the venue, all they captured was a shadow of a man whose arm is seen to be raised and then dropped around the exact time that shots was heard and Connor was killed.

Connor’s girlfriend, who appeared to know little about him, said she did not see anyone and said she did not know the man that Connor was talking to as they walked across the car park. He was never traced. Whittaker also saw very little and was only able to give a vague description. The gun used has never been traced and to date the bullets and shells recovered have never matched any other weapons. The only other possible lead in the case was an abandoned bicycle at the scene, but police have never been able to trace anyone connected to it.

Connor’s death came during another spate of gun violence. This time three men were killed over the course of a month, but the police have never said if Connor’s killing was related in any way to the other two deaths: Irvin Bush, the father of Robert Bush, who was gunned down at his West Bay home in Daisy Lane, and Earl Hart, who was shot outside his home in Prospect. Hart had been scheduled to be a prosecution witness in another murder case in East End in 2011. Neither of them have been solved.

In this case, with there being little likelihood that Connor was not the intended target, on the magistrate’s advice the jury concluded a verdict of unlawful killing.

There were no family or friends in attendance for either of the inquests.


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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jamaicans are the ruination of this country with their fast canoes bringing in guns and drugs. Facts are facts and truth are truth, end that’s NOT racist.

    • who cares says:

      9:o7pm,Jamaicans are our foreparents so we are all related.Mind how you degrade your own family.

    • Anonymous says:

      You may not be racist but you are for sure small minded,
      More guns are brought here from America than Jamaica, wasn’t it a few years ago when they busted a gun smuggling ring between some caymanians from America bringing them in home appliances, imagine the amount that was brought here before they were caught and probably still on going.
      Yeah I understand that jamaicans are bringing contraband via canoes but aren’t they just bringing it for the caymanians, I mean nearly every bust here the jamaicans admit to doing it for money (peanuts) and to say that jamaicans are the ruination here is racist when in fact that most jamaicans here put in blood sweat and tears into construction and developments, I can bet that the very place you call home was built by jamaicans,
      Anyways yeah I understand stand that some makes it look bad for the others but you find that with any nationality at least they’re killing their own kind (criminals) and not killing innocent people like what we see going on in America with mass shootings all over the place and even in places you wouldn’t expect,
      If Cayman is to follow in uncle sam’s foot steps then my friend in the near future we all are F@#Ked.

    • Anonymous says:

      As the children of the idled rich pour into the multi-million dollar houses and condos, the demand for drugs will go up and extra-legal enforcement of the trade will bring more violence. The above comment echoes so many Americans who blame suppliers for their demand of illegal entertainments. It was the same when they scapegoated Italian mobs during prohibition.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even their slow canoes are bad

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are they really unknown, or just not arrested or charged? That’s a big difference.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How about start with these cold cases from the 60’s and work your way up to 2020? These older folks know alot too from back in the day, and had things on their minds for decades and may be willing to talk. There is atleast 80 unsolved murders dating back from God knows when.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Gang-related” killings? Bullshit! These stemmed from 1 love triangle and the rest were tit-for-tat – friends getting revenge. These were related to immature boys with guns, rather than gang culture.

    RCIPS know this but nevertheless (for various reasons) can’t find enough evidence to bring charges.

    Remember the wave of shootings mainly in GT, in the late 1990s? They involved more “turf issues” than these mentioned in the CNS article. Didn’t Derek Haines and his team get results? Yes, they did!

  6. Anonymous says:

    ‘No one knows’, ‘no one saw’
    Yeah right

  7. Ex Convict says:

    Our government needs to sort out that prison and alot of things will come out about these murders instead of certain political so called ministers and their minions trying to destroy the director who is only trying very hard to clean up the corruption and this shit at the Prison. Calling on the premier and this so called governor to stand behind the director and do a independent review of the prison 9 cellphones and 4 lbs of ganja and now trying to say he acted alone? These people must think we all are idiots! We have too many Jamaicans in our prison and police service and it clearly needs to be addressed now!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Killers killing killers. No one is going to investigate. These boys did not get killed becaused they were upstanding citizens ok.

    • Anonymous says:

      12/6 @ 8:16am – they’re some mothers’ children. What if they were yours? Are you sure they would not turn out to be what you didn’t expect? Are you sure they might not get involved in some “love triangle” which becomes deadly violent, with “tit-for-tat killings? Are you sure they would be mature enough to settle typical “young people” conflicts without violence?

      These cases involve all of that and less of “gang culture” – and parents are grieving!

      I know a very “well-off” family here who raised their children very well and privileged, yet one child liked to hang out with less savory friends and play “macho”, and became directly caught-up in a gun murder and other violent events. Luckily he wasn’t killed but lives in fear for his life.

  9. Pastor Alfredo says:

    Let them get on with it. As long as they don’t venture south of Republix they can pretend to be gangstaars as much as they like. A bit of natural attrition hurts no one except for people who say they’re members of a gang. I couldn’t care less. The island is better off without them. They offer nothing but despair. They represent nothing but hate. They engender nothing but fear. The overwhelming majority of the island would happily send them to northward. These scrotes are already too far gone by the time they decide that being shot in the face was some kind of worthwhile use of their time on this planet.

    They’re wrong. And the more of them that are dispatched in this manner, the quicker the rest of them might realise the futility of being a “bad man” in a tiny little village of a few hundred people.

    Literally everyone thinks you’re a waste of space. No one thinks you’re hard. No one thinks you’re cool. No one thinks you’re a gangster. Everyone just thinks you’d be torn to shreds in even the most mediocre of urban landscapes of with a gang of local kids. You’re not cool. You’re embarrassing.

    Pastor Alfredo

    • Anonymous says:

      “Pastor Alfredo” – I’ve long-felt that you’re no real pastor, but your callousness confirm that. All these victims were some mothers’ children. What if they were yours? Are you sure they would not turn out to be what you didn’t expect? Are you sure they might not get involved in some “love triangle” which becomes deadly violent, with “tit-for-tat killings? Are you sure they would be mature enough to settle typical “young people” conflicts without violence?

      These cases involve all of that and less of “gang culture” – and parents are grieving!

      I know a very “well-off” family here who raised their children very well and privileged, yet one child liked to hang out with less savory friends and play “macho”, and became directly caught-up in a gun murder and other violent events. Luckily he wasn’t killed but lives in fear for his life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, pastor.

      Pulling off heists, robberies and burglaries for amounts of money less than a worker at BK makes. Proper idiots.

      I get that even nice people have kids that go off the rails, but that’s the minority. Crap families generally give you this kind of problem.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What about missing persons like JJ?

  11. Anonymous says:

    What about the murder of Todd Powery??? from West Bay? Unsolved.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Who cares…..
    I don’t.

  13. Anonymous says:

    RIP Beenie, u will always be missed

    • Anonymous says:

      Playing gangster games gets you what you deserve. Sad that no one cares enough when he was around to help him see the light.

  14. Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

    It is not clear to me why the Coroner’s Court is only now ruling on murders that took place 8 and 10 years ago, it reminds me of a serious driving offence involving a senior civil servant, that took 8 years to reach a court verdict.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Has the August 2007 killing of Marlon Brando Ebanks ever been solved? I remember the crime scene was an absolute cluster***k!

  16. Anonymous says:

    i have often wondered why carrying an illegal firearm doesn’t merit a death sentence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps we should ask why, in this last decade, the RCIPS have neglected to bust up the gangs where, for some of their participants, directing entire industries of misconduct, NOT carrying a gun IS has been the death sentence? Why would the RCIPS leave these areas and individuals unmolested and unmonitored, if not by intention and/or mutual agreement? So much more to this story.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because a death sentence is as illegal as carrying an illegal firearm.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Not sure what good this does. Why not devote these resources to crimes that can possibly be soved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but I have to agree, you live by the sword you……
      What these English cops don’t realize is the hypocrisy involved here. It’s impossible for anyone even the families of the victims, to “not know anything” surrounding these deaths. No one will ever talk. Let’s concentrate now on saving who’s still alive and not have history repeat itself again.

      • Bella says:

        The majority of the police officers in RCIPS are unprofessional and incompetent so they are not able to do a proper investigation to solve majority of the crimes on island and are depending on the community to assist them. Their responsibility is to serve and protect not abuse and harass as they have been doing for far too long. Cayman policing is in a very critical state and majority of the cases are compromised to suit their ulterior motives. God doesn’t sleep or slumber and he sits high and look low.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bella, lay off the crack. There’s no ulterior motive, you donut. You pulled these generalizations from where exactly? You interviewed all of RCIPS to come to these conclusions?

    • Anonymous says:

      And we could have a killer or killers still on the loose in the country, hell they maybe your next door neighbor. No unsolved case should be abandoned. Or the flipside they could have been since killed 8n other shootings, car crashes etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        While there might be killer(s) on the loose, if you’re not living the wannabe-gangsta life you’re fine. These lowlife losers tend to eradicate each other but leave other people alone.

        • Anonymous says:

          Of course they leave normal people alone. They don’t know normal people, so if they mess with the wrong person, wannabe gangster gets his ass handed to him. They are better sticking to the weak minded enemies they know so well.

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