Guards’ evidence inconsistent
During the first week of Randy Martin’s trial for murder, Justice Charles Quin heard from witnesses about their last contact with the victim, Sabrina Schirn, on Wednesday, 11 March, 2009.
This week, the judge is hearing about Randy’s activities that same day.
Evidence so far indicates that Sabrina, 21, was last heard from around 10.50am by her friend Tanya Christian. Tanya said she phoned Sabrina, who said she was heading to East End.
Wednesday was Sabrina’s day off work and they usually had lunch together. Tanya told her, ‘Do what you need to do and pick me up for lunch.’
At 1pm she had not arrived; normally she would be early. Tanya tried to call her. ‘She always had her phones. I’ve never seen her without them.’ She did not get any response.
A co-worker, whose car she took, tried to contact her around 2pm on both of Sabrina’s numbers. There was no answer.
Friends started looking for Sabrina that night. Her body was discovered on 17 March by her brother, Kevin Jennings, and his friend Christopher Eden, who knew the various trails through the area.
Where they found Sabrina was not far from the 270-acre farm run by Northward Prison.
Randy, 37, was a member of the work party at the farm on 11 March.
Marlon Dehaney told the court on Monday that he had been a prison officer for over 10 years, working at the farm for over a year. Inmates who work on the farm are considered able to work without a high degree of supervision.
‘There are times they are out o sight because of the size of the site. I just make regular checks,’ he explained.
An inmate used to cook lunch at the farmhouse on the premises, Mr. Dehaney said, but that changed several months previously. On 11 March, he was the cook, but he also supervised. There was one other guard – Gregory Hunter — and seven prisoners.
Randy was working in the tomato patch not far from the kitchen.
During the morning Randy came to him two or three times and said ‘See me working here’ indicating he was not like the others who wee out of sight. ‘And he came and said he was going down to the bottom to take a dump.’ Randy showed him a roll of toilet paper and the guard said OK. There is a toilet in the farmhouse but Randy didn’t like it.
The ‘bottom’ was near the orange grove, which was where Randy usually worked. ‘The longest he was away from me was 45 minutes,’ Mr. Dehaney reported.
Later, after 12, after lunch was through serving, Mr. Dehaney saw most of the inmates, but not Randy. He started walking toward the orange grove, but was detained by someone at the farm gate making an inquiry. While he was speaking to that person, he saw Randy walking rapidly toward the area where the men were, then continue rapidly behind the farm house.
He and the other officer followed. He had a machete under his arm and a little black bag in his hand. From about 50 yards away, Mr. Dehaney asked Randy what he was up to. He said Randy froze, then went under a fence and was out of sight for a few seconds. He came back with an orange, peeling it, and without the black bag.
Randy told him the bag was $25 worth of ‘ziggy’ (ganja) and two packs of cigarettes his cousin had dropped off for him. Mr. Dehaney sent Randy back to the farmhouse while he and Mr. Hunter checked the area, but did not find anything.
A few days later he found two coffee bottles. One had a black plastic bag with ganja residue and the other had a cell phone and charger.
Mr. Hunter told the court he was with the prison service 13 months before March 2009. He was assigned to the farm about two weeks before 11 March. On that day, he was the cook.
While he was preparing the meal, Randy was in the tomato patch. Mr. Hunter said he could not guarantee Randy was there during the 25 or 30 minutes Mr. Hunter was gone to check on the men in the dairy area.
Lunch was usually 11.30am, sometimes noon, depending on when the food was ready. He said when Mr. Dehaney called to him about Randy going across the bush it was minutes after 1 to 2 o’clock.
Both guards were asked if at any stage they saw blood on Randy’s clothes that day. Both replied, no.