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Edness murder trial: jurors see CCTV footage

A police officer told the Supreme Court that alleged killer Joshua Usher appeared to be wearing gloves and a bulletproof jacket on the evening Prince Edness was murdered.

Mr Usher, 22, along with 20-year-old Jaquii Pearman Desilva have both denied charges of killing Mr Edness on December 7 last year and opening fire on police during a high-speed chase.

Mr Edness was shot at least four times outside a home in South Avenue, Southampton, with witnesses previously telling the court that he was targeted by two men on a motorcycle seen exiting the Southampton Rangers parking lot.

As the trial continued yesterday, the jury were shown CCTV footage from inside and outside the Southampton Rangers Club on the evening of the shooting.

Detective Constable Jason Trott told the court that when he first watched the footage he recognised Mr Usher, whom he had met in 2011 through his work.

“What immediately drew my attention was I noticed a vest underneath the person’s shirt,” he said. “To me it resembled, or appeared to be, a bulletproof vest or a thick, bulky vest which I assumed was a bulletproof vest.”

He said he also noticed that Mr Usher appeared to be wearing gloves while in the bar.

Otherwise, he said Mr Usher was wearing an all-white outfit including a long-sleeved turtleneck and white pants.

He said he later identified Mr Usher getting on a bike in the parking lot, with a second man climbing onto the back.

“It took me one or two times just to find him and follow each camera angle,” he said. “In the past I had to follow each step he made.”

In the footage, the vehicle travels a short distance in the parking lot before stopping. The passenger is seen getting off the bike and walking behind a nearby van. Moments later, the rider then rides near the van and turns off its lights. A figure is then seen getting on the back of the bike, which then speeds westward.

Detective Sergeant Kenten Trott told the court that he first viewed the footage on December 17 and recognised Mr Desilva inside the club wearing a grey hoodie. While the man on the video wore the hood over his head while in the bar, Det Sgt Trott said he was able to recognise his face.

Shown footage from outside the club, he said Mr Desilva was the pillion passenger on a motorcycle seen in the parking lot.

Det Sgt Trott said it appears the same pillion passenger he identified as Mr Desilva was also the one who climbed on before the bike sped off, noting the light grey helmet and the colour of his top.

Defence lawyer Marc Daniels, however, suggested that Mr Desilva had never seen the officer before — something he denied — and that it was impossible to identify who got onto the back of the vehicle before it left the area.

Later, when questioned by defence lawyer Charles Richardson, Det Sgt Trott said he was aware that another man had originally been charged with operating the motorcycle used in the shooting as a result of eyewitness testimony, however those charges were later dropped with prosecutors now alleging that Mr Usher filled that role.

The Supreme Court also heard evidence from overseas forensic experts who examined evidence recovered during the investigation.

DNA expert Candy Zuleger told the court that she received a series of DNA swabs from items including a grey helmet and a red handkerchief, both of which were seized from the home of Mr Desilva’s girlfriend.

She testified that while both items had a mix of DNA, Mr Pearman was almost certainly the major donor on both items.

Ms Zuleger said the odds that the DNA on the helmet came from someone other than Mr Pearman was one in 285 nonillion — a figure with 30 zeroes — considering samples from the African American population of the United States, adding: “It’s not common.”

The match on the handkerchief was even stronger, with the odds of it coming from someone else in the same population being one in 1 decillion — a figure with 33 zeroes.

She further said it was unlikely the DNA found on the items were there as a result of secondary transfer, however under cross-examination by defence lawyer Marc Daniels she accepted that some people do “shed” more DNA than others, meaning that the major donor might not necessarily be the main user of the item.

Mr Daniels also questioned Ms Zuleger about the results of several other swabs, including those from cartridge cases and a motorcycle which was recovered during the investigation.

On each of the items, she said a DNA mix was found. None of the tests identified Mr Pearman as the major donor, while no determination could be made as far as if the defendant’s DNA was “in the mix”.

Also testifying was forensic firearms expert Dennis Maguire, who said he examined seven cartridge cases recovered during the investigation, as well as two recovered bullets. Mr Maguire said that the casings and the bullets were all 40 calibre and all of the casings appeared to be fired from the same weapon.

“It’s a handgun,” he said. “In this case, it’s consistent with an autoloading pistol.”

The trial continues.

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