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Victim tells court he had become friendly with alleged shooter

A man who worked for a gang outreach programme told a jury a young gang member he befriended ended up shooting him.

Randolph Lightbourne said he thought he had a close relationship with Money Over Bitches [MOB] “soldier” Marico Bassett.

But he said, Mr Bassett, who he called Rico, opened fire on him outside a Somerset bar, leaving him with seven bullet wounds.

“I never had no problems with Rico,” he said. “If I thought that the MOB had a problem with me I never thought Rico would get involved. I thought we had a good relationship. So when I saw that Rico done it, that was really just devastating.”

Mr Lightbourne admits having family members in the Parkside and Ord Road crews, but told the jury he is not in any gang himself.

He told police after the shooting that people in Somerset, where MOB is based, thought he might be a snitch for those rival gangs.

Mr Bassett, from Sandys, denies charges of attempted murder, using a firearm to commit an indictable offence, and possessing two bullets. His defence lawyer strongly refuted allegations that he has gang links.

Giving evidence against Mr Bassett yesterday, the victim, who is a plumber from Sandys, said he met him in 2007 while he was on a prison work release programme.

Mr Lightbourne did not explain why he had been in jail, but said he got to know Mr Bassett better after he was released in 2008.

He described the accused man as a good friend of his son and said he saw him virtually every day when visiting the Charing Cross Tavern in Cambridge Road, Somerset.

He told the court Mr Bassett hung out with other MOB members near the premises, and they would speak to each other often.

“I always got the impression that Marico was very quiet and to himself, but in the last year he started to open up to me a bit more,” said Mr Lightbourne. “What I saw was that he trusted me.”

He added: “We had very frank and regular conversations about the fact that he had become part of the MOB. I actually was part of an organisation called CARTEL; it's run by a pastor, Leroy Bean.

“They go around and speak to young people in schools about staying away from gangs, and for those who are in gangs, they offer them different ways of getting out.”

He said he did not believe Mr Bassett really wanted to be in a gang but stayed in MOB in order to maintain his lifestyle.

Mr Lightbourne said he was also “very close” to a man named Kenith “Ethan” Bulford, who he named as the leader of MOB.

He told the jury Mr Bulford questioned him on July 17, 2010 because he'd heard Mr Lightbourne had been seen talking to members of rival gangs including his nephews, Roger Lightbourne Jr, of Parkside, and Jakai Morris, of the Ord Road Crew.

“He wanted to find out where I was at. What was my feelings, specifically because those guys was all considered to be enemies of MOB,” he said.

Mr Lightbourne explained earlier in his evidence that MOB considered it “open season” if rival gang members came onto their home turf, and would attack them.

He said the MOB members “always showed me respect and I showed them respect”, prior to the shooting incident.

However, on the day in question, they did not speak to him as they usually did when he arrived at the Charing Cross Tavern just before 5pm.

“I spoke to a couple of them and they acted like they didn't know me,” he said.

As he left the venue, he alleged that Mr Bassett arrived on a bike and shot him multiple times from a distance of around eight feet away.

Mr Lightbourne said he rolled underneath his own bike in an effort to shield himself from the bullets, but felt them hit his bike helmet, his body and his arm.

He said of the gunman: “He had a helmet on his head and a visor that came down to just by his nose. I just wanted to know who it was. I didn't know why I got shot but I wanted to know who it was. That's when I saw Rico. Marico Bassett. He was the shooter.”

He added: “He was turning the bike around, it was just devastating. I looked again to be sure, and I could see it was Rico and it broke my heart.”

Mr Lightbourne, who is blind in his left eye due to an accident at work in 1987 insisted this did not prevent him identifying the shooter. He told the jury he spent four months in hospital recovering from wounds to his buttocks, abdomen and wrist, as he suffered major damage to his intestines.

Defence lawyer Marc Daniels suggested Mr Lightbourne was wrong when he described Mr Bassett as a member of MOB and was mistaken as to the identity of the shooter.

Mr Lightbourne insisted he was correct about both things, saying he recognised the “unique” nose and mouth of the accused.

The case continues.

Photo by Tamell Simons Shooting victim Randolph Lightbourne leaves Supreme Court 3 after giving evidence against the alleged gunman, Marico Bassett.

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Published March 04, 2011 at 9:05 am (Updated March 04, 2011 at 9:05 am)

Victim tells court he had become friendly with alleged shooter

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