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Loaded pistol discovered by students

Supreme Court 3, where the trial is taking place (File photograph)

Two curious middle-schoolers discovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol under some dead leaves by a Sandys railway trail, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Gariko Benjamin’s DNA was found on both the firearm in question and the bandanna it was wrapped inside.

Prosecutor Takiyah Burgess outlined the facts of the case in her opening statement.

Ms Burgess said that at about 1pm on Saturday, April 23, 2011, two female middle school students spotted a man fiddling with something in the trees as they walked through the railway trail near Sandys Community Centre. Later, they inspected the area where they had seen the man and found a gun wrapped in a black and white bandanna under some dead leaves.

The girls ran away and called police, who attended the scene at about 1.41pm and discovered both the bandanna and the firearm.

PC Garwin Phillips from the Bermuda Police Service’s firearms unit described how he removed the gun’s magazine, which had several live rounds, as well as a live round from its slide. It was then sent for forensic testing.

Candy Zuleger, lab director of Trinity DNA Solutions in Florida, explained that Mr Benjamin had been the major DNA contributor to the gun’s inside barrel, which had a mixture of at least two contributors.

She added that the likelihood of the DNA belonging to another black Bermudian was 1 in 2.9 quadrillion (a number containing 15 zeroes).

Ms Zuleger said that Mr Benjamin’s DNA had also been found on the bandanna, which had at least three contributors, with a 1 in 950,000 chance that the DNA in question belonged to another black Bermudian.

Mr Benjamin denies handling the weapon. The case continues.

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.