Prison inmate found guilty of murder

Randy Lebert Martin, 37, was found
guilty after trial by judge alone for the murder of Sabrina Schirn, 21, in
March 2009.

Martin’s conviction will bring an
automatic life prison sentence, according to Cayman
Islands law.

Justice Charles Quin delivered his
verdict Tuesday afternoon. Martin chose to be tried by judge alone although he
initially elected trial by jury.

His attorney, Adam King, explained
at the time that rumours had come to Martin from fellow inmates and from people
outside the prison. “Practically
every Caymanian on the Island will know about
the murder,” Mr. King said, and many people knew Ms Schirn or her family.

Martin, serving a sentence for
aggravated burglary, worked with other inmates at Wilderness Farm, a complex in
East End off High Rock Road. He was charged with murdering
Ms Schirn on an unknown date between 11-17 March last year.

As evidence emerged, the date of
her death appeared to be closer to 11 March, the last time her two cell phones
were used.

A pathologist told the court that
she died from loss of blood, the result of multiple chop and incise wounds. He
said death was days, not hours, before her body was found.

Family members and friends discovered
her body on 17 March some distance from the prison farm, along a track east of High Rock Road and
south of the farm.

The car she drove on 11 March was
found on 16 March, parked in the bush closer to the back boundary of the prison

 Solicitor General Cheryll Richards, assisted
by Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn, acknowledged from the beginning that the evidence
against Martin was circumstantial. But, she added, it was sufficient to satisfy
the indictment.

That evidence included the blood of
Ms Schirn on Martin’s belt and her DNA on his work glove. Blood from an
interior region of the glove also matched Sabrina’s DNA profile.

Martin told
the court that he met Ms Schirn on the morning of 11 March at a banana washing
shed on property west of the prison farm. He said she brought him cigarettes
and ganja.

He said they
met at 10.38am and engaged in sexual activity.
They did not have complete intercourse because she was menstruating. Afterwards,
she picked up his work glove and wiped it on her leg. He went back to the farm and
she jumped in the car and went off.

Asked about phone contact between
them later, he said they made an arrangement for their next meeting and then
she called him so he could hear a song on the radio.

Prison officers gave evidence of
Martin’s absence from their sight on 11 March and the time they said they saw
him returning from the rear boundary.

Defence Counsel David Evans said
the Crown’s case had great gaps that could only be filled by speculation. He
argued that Martin would not have had enough time to meet Ms Schirn, get her to
the area where her body was discovered, kill her, dispose of evidence and get
back to the farm. He said other people had a motive and investigators had not
followed up other evidence.