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Burrows admitted shooting, says witness

A man charged with the murder of Rickai Swan admitted the killing to a group of friends, a witness told the jury yesterday.

The witness — who cannot be named in further reporting after a ruling from Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons today — testified that Shantoine Prinston Burrows told him and others that he shot Mr Swan after he tripped attempting to run away from him.

Mr Burrows, 25, is accused of murdering Mr Swan and wounding Damiko Gibbons when he opened fire at Southampton Rangers Sports Club on October 23 last year.

Taj Browne, 22, is accused of giving Mr Burrows a lift in the wake of the shooting, making him an accessory after the fact to murder. Both men deny the offences. As the Supreme Court trial continued yesterday, the witness told the jury that on the evening of the shooting he was with both defendants at a friend’s home on Woodlawn Road.

While there, some members of the group decided to go to Hamilton and they began to discuss who was going to give the witness a ride. The witness said he was going to try to get a ride with Mr Burrows, but he said Mr Burrows refused.

“He said if the police come, he was going to shoot at police and he didn’t want me to get in the way,” he said. He explained that Mr Burrows later agreed to give him a ride to a friend’s home nearby and the friend would take the witness into Hamilton.

The witness told the court that when he got on the back of Mr Burrows’s bike, which he described as a white Aprilla SportCity, he tried to avoid touching it. Asked why, he said: “Because I didn’t want my fingerprints on it in case something comes back on me.”

He testified that the group began to ride towards town, but as they approached the Port Royal School area, Mr Burrows called the group together. “He said he was going to handle his business and he turned to go up the hill to take you to South Shore,” he said.

The witness said that he and others in the group, including Mr Browne, later arrived at a friend’s home on Roberts Avenue. While there, he said another friend began to receive WhatsApp messages from Mr Burrows. In a pair of voicemails, which the witness said he heard, Mr Burrows asked for someone to pick him up. Eventually Mr Browne agreed to collect Mr Burrows and left.

“When he came back he said Prinston told him that he might have messed up because he didn’t have his visor all the way down and that when he got to Rangers, he saw Jahkai Dillas, pointed the gun at his chest but then he struck it away and the gun went off,” the witness said.

“It shot the other brother that got shot — Damiko. Everybody ran and he shot Black when he tripped.”

The witness later confirmed that “Black” was Mr Swan.

In a separate incident on November 18, the witness told the court that Mr Burrows and others were at his home when the subject of the shooting came up. “Prinston started telling the story about what happened that night,” the witness said. “That he didn’t have the visor down, that the gun was slapped away from Jahkai’s chest and that he shot Black.”

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