Witness gives Martinez’ account

William McLaughlin Martinez, accused of murdering Brian Rankine Carter in May 2008, told a co-worker about the night of the incident, the co-worker testified last week.

Radcliff Johnson said he spoke to Martinez at a work site on the Saturday morning, 17 May, after Brian’s body was discovered in a parking lot off McField Lane in George Town.

Another co-worker, Jason Hinds, has already told the jury that he drove the company van to the site, carrying Martinez and Brian, whom he did not know but who had asked for a ride. He said he watched as the two men exchanged words outside the van, then saw Martinez grab Brian around the neck and subsequently chop him with a machete.

A patron at the nearby Havana CafĂ© was suspicious of the van and got its licence plate number. After Brian’s body was discovered, police obtained the number and van description. Officers found the van, Hinds and Martinez the next morning.

Defence Attorney Mark Tomassi suggested it was Hinds who killed Brian, but Hinds denied this. He has already pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of murder, but has not yet been sentenced.

Giving his evidence, Mr. Johnson said he asked Martinez, ‘What happened last night?’

He said Martinez told him they were playing dominoes and drinking a few beers. After that, ‘Mr. Hinds drop him home and he don’t know what Mr. Hinds did after that. That’s all he told me,’ Mr. Johnson related.

The men’s employer, Alcott Fisher, described Martinez as trustworthy, hard-working and well-mannered – he never had a complaint about him. He described Hinds as trustworthy and hard-working, ‘almost the same as William’.

Questioned by Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey, he said Hinds carried a knife, like a ratchet knife. Hinds talked violent, but Mr. Fisher said he didn’t take it serious because he grew up in Jamaica hearing that and it could probably be a joke.

Re-examined by Solicitor General Cheryll Richards, Mr. Fisher said he had seen Hinds use the knife, only like to cut open boxes, work-wise, or open doors because the knife was his key ring.

Mr. Kenroy Watler, Martinez’ landlord in East End, was asked about an incident at his home on the night of 16 May. He said he was in his yard when a car pulled up with five people in it. One of them asked if Brian was there.

Mr. Watler explained there was initially some confusion because he knows three Brians. When it became clear that it was ‘Big Brian’ Rankine Carter, Mr. Watler said no, Brian had not come there. The man got in the car and left. He didn’t look too pleased; he had a frown but was not aggressive.

Shamara Jackson said she saw Brian that Friday night. He came to her house around 8pm and asked her to braid his hair. Then he left.

Mr. Tomassi asked if Brian had told her he needed to protect himself, if he thought he was going to be seriously hurt. Ms Jackson said yes, Brian told her somebody wanted to do him something, so he had a razor.

Other witnesses included Scenes of Crime Officers Zoan Marin and Stephen Best, who submitted photographs and items recovered at various scenes, including work boots and articles of clothing.

Mr. Jeffrey Johnson, from Miami-Dade, gave expert evidence about blood stain patterns.

Questioned by Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey, he said Hinds carried a knife, like a ratchet knife. Hinds talked violent, but Mr. Fisher said he didn’t take it serious because he grew up in Jamaica hearing that and it could probably be a joke.

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