Teen’s murder trial begins

Defendant shot in robbery, says Crown

Trial began Tuesday for Jordan Darl Manderson, 18, who is accused of murdering Marcos Mauricio Guaman Duran, 29, in West Bay on the evening of 11 March, 2010.

The defendant has not been identified until now because he was 16 at the time of the incident and considered to be a young person. Since then he has had two birthdays.

On Tuesday, on behalf of news reporters, the court clerk sought clarification from Justice Charles Quin and the answer was that the defendant could be named.

Raziel Jeffers, 27, is also charged with the murder of Mr. Duran. Because he does not yet have a lawyer, the case against him was separated from Mr. Manderson’s. Justice Quin made that decision last Friday, saying it was only fair because Mr. Manderson has been in custody for over 12 months. He said his over-riding consideration was a fair trial within a reasonable period of time.

He noted the severance would give Mr. Jeffers all the time he needed.

Mr. Manderson, who is defended by attorneys David Fisher and Lucy Organ, chose to be tried by judge alone.

In her opening statement, Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards said the Crown would bring evidence to show there was a plan to rob Mr. Duran, who sold illegal lottery numbers. The Crown’s case was that Mr. Manderson was one of the robbers; in the course of the robbery a struggle ensued and Mr. Duran was shot. Mr. Manderson was also shot in the struggle, according 
to the Crown.

The incident took place outside a two-storey apartment building on Maliwinas Way in West Bay, where Mr. Duran had gone to speak with one of his customers.

Mr. Manderson initially told police he had been on his way to Birch Tree Hill Road when a car passed him and slowed down. He said a man ran up to him and shot him and he named that man as Andy Barnes. Police searched the area he described but did not find any blood or sign of a shooting.

Meanwhile, investigations continued in the shooting death of Mr. Duran. Swabs taken from that scene were found to have DNA matching Mr. Manderson’s.

He was interviewed again on 9 April, in the presence of a social worker and an attorney, and told police he had gone to Maliwinas Way and was shot while going up the stairs. He said he was shot by Damion Ming, who was in the company of Andy Barnes.

By that date, Ms Richards noted, Damion Ming was dead. (He was fatally shot in West Bay on 25 March. Raziel Jeffers has been charged with his murder.)

The Crown relied on these inconsistent accounts together with DNA evidence, phone records and other contacts.

The first witness was Margarita Nell Martinez, who said she had known Mr. Duran a couple of years. She used to buy numbers from him a couple of times a week. She said he came to her upstairs apartment some time after 7pm on 11 March, 2010, to see if she wanted anything. He stayed not more than 10 minutes.

Maybe five minutes after he left, she heard a thump, as if something hit her front door. She went to the window and saw Mr. Duran’s car with its lights blinking. Then she looked down and saw him lying by her door. She opened the door and called his name. By that time she could see he was lying in blood, so she called 911.

Questioned by Mr. Fisher, Ms Martinez said she did not hear any sounds before the thump. She explained that her TV volume was loud, it was windy that night and a piece of zinc was hitting on a container.

Mr. Fisher asked her about lighting in the area. Ms Martinez said one lamp post was installed the day after the murder and another lamp was installed on a post already there. He also asked about how many people came up the stairs after Mr. Duran was shot.

Ms Richards did not ask her any follow-up questions.

The trial has been set down for three to 
four weeks.