Jury split on attempted murder charges
Two men accused of attempted murder will have to go on trial again because a Supreme Court jury failed to reach a verdict — after listening to evidence for almost two months.
Devon Hewey and Cervio Cox, both from Warwick, were accused of trying to shoot dead two men in a March, 2012, incident.
They initially went on trial last September, but those proceedings were brought to a halt after just a few days. The pair, along with a third defendant — Julian Washington — finally went on trial on January 22.
Mr Washington, 24, from Pembroke, was acquitted of all charges last month.
Prosecutors maintained that Mr Hewey and Mr Cox assisted in the March 24, 2012 attempted shooting of Lavon Thomas and Darren Thompson, in which four shots were fired at around 3.30am outside Shine's Nightclub on Reid Street.
After deliberating for more than six hours yesterday, the ten-man jury eventually found both defendants not guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Thompson, but remained split on the first two counts on the indictment — attempting to murder Mr Thomas and using a firearm to do so.
An hour later, trial judge Charles-Etta Simmons asked the jury foreman if it was likely that, given more time, the deadlock could be broken.
When the foreman replied that this was not likely, discharged the jury and remanded Mr Hewey and Mr Cox back into custody.
They are now scheduled to appear at April's arraignments session.
Summing up the case earlier, Mrs Justice Simmons pointed out the prosecution's claim that Mr Hewey drove the motorcycle with the shooter as passenger to the scene of the Hamilton nightclub — then drove against traffic so the gunman could open fire.
“The allegation by the prosecution is Mr Hewey then made a U-turn on the bike, and slowly rode the shooter alongside in pursuit,” she said.
Even though Mr Washington has been acquitted, the jury heard that the Crown maintains that either he or Mr Cox could have been the shooter that night.
Another aspect of the Crown's case was that Mr Cox aided by tying a plastic bag onto the bike's licence plate. The jury has heard that his DNA was found on the plastic.
There is also evidence that Mr Cox was in the vicinity of the shooting that night, Mrs Justice Simmons said.
One of the alleged targets, Mr Thomas, testified that the weapon pointed in his direction seemed to misfire.
Four shots rang out as he fled across Reid Street, but Mr Thomas escaped unharmed, while two windows were shattered at the office building at 141 Front Street. Mr Thompson also evaded the attackers.
However, a police car on nearby Cavendish Road spotted two men on a motorcycle travelling east and overtaking a line of vehicles.
Police pursued the motorcycle, losing sight of it near the Botanical Gardens.
The jury then heard that officers subsequently found a bike parked in the gardens, its muffler still warm, with the keys still in the ignition. One helmet was left at the scene, and another was later recovered from the park.
US forensic scientist Allison Murtha testified that gunshot residue was found on the rear pillion grips of the vehicle.
Mr Hewey told the jury the bike was his, but that it had been stolen. Both men claimed they were elsewhere on the night in question — although only Mr Hewey took the stand.