Trevino Tennson Bodden was found guilty of the murders of Brenard Scott and Renold Pearson, the East End men who were shot in November 2006.
Justice Alexander Henderson gave him life imprisonment on each count. The sentences are concurrent.
Defence attorney Queen’s Counsel Howard Hamilton said the verdicts will be appealed.
Jurors were told there were three possible verdicts: guilty of murder; not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter; and not guilty.
Bodden, 22, referred to throughout the trial as TJ, was arrested at his home around 7am on 2 November, 2006, some six or seven hours after Brenard and Renold were shot near their home on Fiddlers Way. The men were brothers.
Brenard, 36, died at the scene. Renold, 48, died at hospital a few hours later.
Eye witnesses said there had been a fight between TJ and Brenard, also known as Chicken Bone. They said TJ left the scene after the fight, then returned with a gun and shot Brenard. When Renold approached him, TJ shot Renold.
TJ gave evidence and acknowledged the fight, but he told the court he went home afterwards and did not return to the scene.
Justice Henderson told jurors the first question they had to consider was: had the Crown made them feel sure it was TJ who shot the men. If they were not sure, they had to find him not guilty.
If they were sure he shot the men, they had to consider whether he did so with malice aforethought; intention to cause death or serious bodily harm.
The final question for jurors was whether TJ should be convicted of murder or manslaughter because of provocation. That is, was he caused to suddenly lose his self-control because of things said or done by someone else?
‘Bear in mind the law expects people to exercise control over their emotions,’ he said. ‘If a person has an unusually volatile, excitable or violent nature or is drunk, he cannot rely on that as an excuse. Otherwise, however, it is entirely for you as representatives of the community to decide what are appropriate standards of behaviour, what degree of control society could have reasonably expected of this defendant, and what is the just outcome of this case.’
This case depended wholly on the correct identification of the person who shot Brenard and Renold. Jurors had to consider the lighting at the time – four street lights; the distance at which witnesses said they saw events; how long the incident lasted; how well they knew the individual; how long between their observation and their giving a description to police.
There will always be differences between the recollections of honest witnesses, he said. ‘However, if there are contradictions between witnesses on matters which you would expect them to remember in the same way, that may suggest that one or both of them are not telling the truth. Ask yourself whether the contradictions between the accounts of eye-witnesses here are sufficiently significant as to cause you to doubt their veracity.’
The judge directed jurors on how to treat evidence that Renold had named TJ as the shooter before he died. ‘Although he is now deceased, the things he said to people before his death and at the time he knew he was about to die are evidence which you must consider in the same manner as the evidence of the eye-witnesses,’ he said.
He also referred to evidence that Renold had not approved of his daughter’s previous relationship with TJ. He said jurors should ask themselves whether that would cause Renold to make a false accusation against TJ while he lay dying.
Justice Henderson commented on the expert evidence, saying it is permitted to provide jurors with scientific information and opinion likely to be outside their experience.
No firearm was found, but police recovered eight cartridge cases from the scene and four bullets removed from Brenard’s body. The eight cartridge cases were nine millimetre and the bullets were from the .38 calibre family, which included nine millimetre.
Jurors also heard that no gunshot residue was found on TJ’s hands, but gunshot residue was found on Brenard’s. The Crown asked the jury to reach the common sense conclusion that TJ washed his hands after the shooting.
Justice Henderson said no evidence provided a full explanation for the presence of gunshot residue on Brenard. The defence suggested that he had fired a gun. Another possible explanation was that he was advancing toward the gun and trying to grab it or deflect the shots.
The Crown’s case was presented by Solicitor General Cheryll Richards, assisted by Crown Counsel Nathania Rankin.
Mr. Hamilton was instructed by Attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke.