Witness describes daylight shooting, and tells court she recognised gunman
A woman who saw a man shot in front of her told a jury she recognised the gunman as someone she'd known since school days.
Victim Jeremiah Dill, 28, was hit by three bullets when former friend Noet Barnett, 25, allegedly tried to murder him outside a shop in broad daylight.
Mr Barnett is on trial at Supreme Court accused of attempted murder.
Opening the case yesterday, Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said the defendant and victim may have been friendly once, and the victim's sister was in a relationship with Mr Barnett. However, at the time of the shooting “they were on either side of a serious dispute which was going on”.
That dispute, said Mr Field, led Mr Barnett to try to kill Mr Dill opposite the One Stop variety shop on Parsons Road, Pembroke around 10am on October 4 2010.
The jury heard from a woman who was standing next to the victim when he was shot. She identified herself to the jury but cannot be named by the media due to a reporting restriction imposed by the judge.
Miss A said she had known Mr Barnett since her school days, and she recognised him as the gunman.
She explained she was walking near the National Stadium earlier on the morning in question when she saw Mr Barnett dressed in dark clothing on a white Sym motorbike. He had a passenger on the bike, but the witness said: “I cannot recall who it was at this time”.
Miss A later walked to the One Stop to do some shopping, and stopped to talk to a female friend and Mr Dill on the sidewalk opposite as she left. Mr Dill was sitting on his big yellow motorcycle.
After her female friend left, she said: “Just like that, the accused rode up and shot at Jeremiah. I jumped over the wall where I was standing.”
Miss A said two shots were fired as she jumped over the wall and she heard one or two more after that. Mr Dill also jumped over the wall, then limped at speed round to the back of a nearby home.
Quizzed by prosecutor Carrington Mahoney over why she believes the shooter was Mr Barnett, she replied that the visor of his helmet was down and she could only see his mouth area but recognised him “because of his lips. He's got small dark smoker's lips”.
Miss A added that he was wearing the same clothes and helmet and riding the same bike as earlier that morning.
She recalled emerging from behind the wall after around five minutes, and Mr Dill emerging from behind the house “screaming and saying that he got shot and that it burns, and he used a little language”.
The victim was taken to hospital suffering from wounds to his legs and backside, which proved to be non life-threatening.
Miss A told the jury she saw Mr Barnett near the MarketPlace store on Church Street not long after the date of the shooting and “he just looked at me, like glared at me”.
When Mr Mahoney inquired how that made her feel, she replied: “I was angry; I felt disrespected”.
Mr Mahoney asked: “Because he glared at you?”.
Miss A replied: “No. Because of what he done.” She told the jury Mr Barnett normally spoke to her when he saw her.
Answering questions from defence lawyer Victoria Pearman, the witness described the shooting as “frightening and annoying”. She agreed that it happened very fast and that the shooter was wearing a mirrored visor that obstructed her view of his face.
Ms Pearman suggested Miss A did not get a good look at the face of the man she saw earlier that day near the stadium either, but she disagreed, insisting the visor was up on that occasion.
Asked why she and Mr Barnett did not speak when she saw him earlier, she said this was because the passenger on his bike “was from 42nd” and she does not speak to people from 42nd.
Miss A maintained, however, that she was telling the truth in saying she cannot remember who the passenger was.
Mr Barnett was arrested almost three months after the murder, after forensic and eyewitness evidence came to light. According to Mr Field, “he gave a series of lies in an attempt to create a false alibi for the timing of the attempted murder”.
Mr Barnett is charged with attempted murder, using a firearm to commit attempted murder and handling a firearm. He denies the charges and the case continues.
The gun used to shoot Jeremiah Dill was found in bushes more than eleven weeks after the attack, and linked to three other shootings, a jury heard.
Noet Barnett, 25, is on trial accused of shooting Mr Dill, 28, outside a variety store in Pembroke on October 4 last year.
According to prosecutor Rory Field, police found the gun inside a bag on a wall just a few minutes' walk away from Mr Barnett's home in St Monica's Road, Pembroke, on December 22.
The jury heard from Detective Constable Steven Palmer, a crime scene investigator, that the black drawstring bag was found in bushes on Eastgate Lane, Pembroke. A revolver was inside, wrapped in a red cut-off sleeve. A pair of gloves were also inside the bag.
Det Con Palmer seized the items, along with a bullet found in the gun.
Mr Field told the jury the gun was a Rexio RJ Serie .38 Special revolver. A firearms expert compared it to a bullet at the shooting scene and found the gun was the same one that fired the bullet.
“The Rexio firearm was also found to have been used in three other shooting incidents which occurred both before and after the attempted murder,” said Mr Field, revealing that one was the murder of Raymond Troy “Yankee” Rawlins.
The prosecutor continued: “A forensic link was then made between Mr Barnett and the gun; the same gun which had been used to shoot Mr Dill.”
Besides charges of attempted murder and using a gun, Mr Barnett is charged with handling the Rexio firearm between the date of the shooting on October 4 and the date it was recovered, December 22. He denies all the charges and the case continues.