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Accused is a gang member but he’s not a killer, jury told

Murder-accused Antonio Myers is a gang member who has not “booked his place in heaven,” but is not a killer, his lawyer insisted.

Prosecutors allege Mr Myers shot Kumi Harford, a high-ranking member of the rival 42 gang as part of the ongoing feud between the rival factions.

But defence lawyer Jerome Lynch QC told the trial yesterday that just because Mr Myers is part of a gang, that does not mean he's guilty.

“Antonio Donovan Dudley Myers is a member of the Middletown gang. There's no dispute about it,” he stated.

He then reflected on evidence from his client's former girlfriend that Mr Myers had lived with her without paying rent for a while after they had a baby together. He later cheated on her with another woman.

“From time to time he deals in drugs. Probably coke and weed. He has not treated Candrea, his baby mother, particularly well. Neither has he been a particularly attentive father to his daughter,” said Mr Lynch.

“He's been seeing another woman, Rogernae, at the same time. He pays no rent. He comes and goes as he pleases. Some might say he doesn't see his mother as often as he should. I don't suppose he's booked his place in heaven.

“If you acquit him at the end of this trial, you won't be inviting him around for a Rum Swizzle and you certainly won't be introducing him to your daughter.

“But being a member of the Middletown gang does not make him guilty of murder. Being a small-time drug dealer does not make him guilty of murder. This wasn't murder. It was assassination.”

Mr Lynch poured cold water on what prosecutors say was the motive for the killing; a dispute between a 42 member named David Cox and a woman named Neika around 90 minutes before the shooting [see separate story].

Neika has been described during the trial as a woman whose house Mr Myers hung out at, and the aunt of his newer girlfriend Rogernae.

Mr Lynch asked the jury: “Do you believe that he's going to put his neck on the line for that? Neika's not a relative of his.”

He said evidence that Mr Myers' DNA was found, together with low levels of gunshot residue, on clothes recovered by police after the shooting could not be used against him as it is “irrelevant” and “should be ignored”.

The clothes were found on a bonfire in Middletown, and prosecution witnesses alleged Mr Myers threw them on there to get rid of the evidence.

Mr Lynch said someone else's DNA was also on the clothes indicating they may have been borrowed by another person “who might have had a motive for wanting revenge on 42 that night.”

He said the armed police who put the fire out could have transferred gunshot residue onto the clothing items.

And he dismissed evidence from drug users Mr Darrell and Mr Lawes that Mr Myers spoke to them about destroying his clothes; even confessing to the killing to Mr Darrell.

He said the pair admitted using drugs that could alter their minds, and suggested they “colluded” to give evidence for the Crown in the hope of landing a $100,000 reward on offer for helping to solve the case.

He said while Mr Myers exercised his “inalienable right” not to take the witness stand, his mother was not lying when she said she saw him at her home just 30 minutes before the murder.

Mr Lynch concluded his remarks by urging the jury to clear his client of the killing.

“He was not there. He was not present. He did not shoot anyone,” he insisted.

The jury will be asked to consider a verdict in the case on Monday.

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Published March 26, 2011 at 9:01 am (Updated March 26, 2011 at 9:00 am)

Accused is a gang member but he’s not a killer, jury told

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