Suspect knew burglary victim

One of three men charged with aggravated burglary claims that a pair of gloves found at the scene linking him to the crime were stolen from him weeks before the incident.

Jerome Mader’s DNA was found on the gloves and an imitation gun allegedly used in the break-in at a home on North Shore Road, Pembroke, in the early hours of July 24, 2012.

According to prosecutors, two men burst into the home of Dale Whitfield and his daughter, Dayla Burgess shortly after midnight. Mr Whitfield was stabbed after tackling one of the intruders while his daughter was threatened with the imitation firearm. The two men then fled the scene empty-handed.

Within minutes of the attack, police arrived after Ms Burgess was able to call emergency services on her cell phone. Officers later testified that they witnessed two men, dressed in black jump into a parked car near the property apparently waving a gun. But as police moved in, the would-be passengers fled the scene, although the driver of the vehicle, Justis Smith was arrested. The gloves and gun were found in the car. A second suspect, Tyun Smith-Ming, was arrested shortly afterwards, but it was several days before Mr Mader was identified as the third suspect.

In Supreme Court yesterday, Mr Mader denied that he had anything to do with the crime and maintained that he did not know either of his co-accused.

He said that the gloves had been stolen from his bike several weeks earlier when he ran an errand in Hamilton with his girlfriend — the mother of his daughter.

“My daughter was getting christened and me and my girlfriend were doing a lot of running around,” Mr Mader told the court.

He said that he parked his bike behind City Hall, met his girlfriend for lunch and then went shopping for picture tags for his daughter’s christening.

After walking his girlfriend to her car, he then returned to his bike, opened up the basket, and realised that a number of personal items, including the gloves, a helmet, a rainsuit and tools, had been stolen.

“The only thing that was left was a folder full of job applications,” Mr Mader, 25, who worked part-time as a plumber, said.

Asked why he had not locked the basket, Mr Mader said he had been in a hurry to meet his girlfriend, who was on her lunch break.

And asked why he did not report the theft, he said he had had a helmet stolen previously, but that crime was never solved, despite several follow-ups with police.

Mr Mader added that on the day of the robbery, he and his girlfriend had an appointment with officials at the Botanical Gardens, the venue of his daughter’s christening reception, which took place four days later on July 29.

“Back in July 2012, the only thing I was concerned about was my daughter and getting a full-time job,” he said.

Mr Mader was eventually arrested when he voluntarily reported to Hamilton Police Station after being informed by a friend that police were looking for him. He was shown a photograph of the gloves but claimed he did not recognise them as his immediately. And during two days of interrogation, he at no point mentioned that his own gloves had been stolen on the advice of his lawyer.

He acknowledged that he knew one of the victims of the break-in, Dayla Burgess, who was a good friend of his girlfriend.

“So your case is that you had nothing to do with this burglary, but someone must have used your pair of gloves — is it therefore a coincidence that the burglary was at the house of someone you knew?” prosecutor Garrett Byrne asked.

Mr Mader’s girlfriend, Calshae Iris, also gave evidence yesterday.

She backed up Mr Mader’s account of his bike basket being broken into, recalling that the couple had met for lunch at KFC that afternoon. She told the court that later that evening she noticed her boyfriend had a new helmet.

Both the Crown and defence lawyers are expected to give their summings-up today.

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Published Dec 10, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 10, 2013 at 12:53 am)

Suspect knew burglary victim

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