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Murder trial witness disputes gun residue evidence

Gunshot residue that allegedly links an accused man to a shooting murder may have nothing to do with the killing, according to a defence expert.

The trial of Antonio Myers has previously heard that one particle of gunshot residue (GSR) was found on a pair of partially burned jeans and one on a sock recovered from a bonfire, along with the accused man's DNA.

Another particle was found in some fire retardant sprayed on a T-shirt found in the blaze.

The fire was discovered and extinguished by police in Middletown, Pembroke, on the night Kumi Harford was shot dead on nearby St Monica's Road on December 5, 2009.

GSR comprises of tiny particles that are emitted from a gun when it is fired. They can land on the body and clothing of the shooter, according to GSR expert Alfred (AJ) Schwoeble who gave evidence for the prosecution on Monday.

They can also land on other people nearby or be transferred via contact between people and items, he said. He described the three particles found in this case as a low level of GSR.

Mr Myers' defence lawyer suggested to Mr Schwoeble that the GSR may in fact have been carried to the scene by armed police officers who extinguished the bonfire.

Jerome Lynch QC said the residue may have been squirted onto the fire from the extinguisher they used, which they got from the back of their armed response vehicle.

Mr Schwoeble said he would have to examine the extinguisher, but the particles would have to have somehow got inside its nozzle.

However, Mr Lynch suggested this was possible even though the officers have told the trial they take precautions to ensure GSR is cleaned away from the weapons, uniforms and equipment they use.

Mr Lynch called another GSR expert, Dominic Miller, to give alternative evidence for the defence.

Mr Miller said: “Overall, the GSR findings do not assist in determining whether or not Antonio Myers is connected or not to the shooting of Kumi Harford.

“In my opinion, the GSR on the items from the fire could have been transferred from the armed police that attended the fire or their fire extinguisher and/or could have been deposited during the shooting of Mr Harford or deposited on another unrelated occasion.”

Mr Myers denies murder and using a firearm to commit murder and the case continues.

Photo by Mark Tatem Antonio Myers, pictured leaving Supreme Court. He denies murdering Kumi Harford.

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Published March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm (Updated March 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm)

Murder trial witness disputes gun residue evidence

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