Ebanks found guilty of murder

Trial was by judge alone

Leonard Antonio Ebanks was found guilty of the murder of Tyrone Burrell, which took place on the evening of 8 September 2010 in West Bay. Justice Charles Quin delivered his judgment today shortly after 12.30pm.

Mr. Burrell, 20, died from a single bullet to the back of his head while he was in a popular yard on Birch Tree Hill Road.

No one witnessed the shooting, but the judge said circumstantial evidence led him to the sure conclusion so that he was satisfied Ebanks was guilty. He said Ebanks had motive, means and opportunity; he denied confessing to a respected friend, Arlene White, that he had killed “the boy”. But Justice Quin said he was satisfied that the confession did take place and it was true.

Further, he said he had watched Ms White give evidence and undergo extensive cross-examination. He found she was a courageous woman who told the truth.

She had seen Ebanks in the yard seconds before she heard a gunshot. A nearby resident, Nora Ebanks, saw him seconds after hearing a sound like a firecracker. The judge said Ms Nora was an honest and reliable witness.

After finding Ebanks guilty, he imposed the sentence of imprisonment for life, as set out in Cayman’s Penal Code.

Ebanks, now 42, asked to speak although Defence Attorney Lucy Organ seemed to be suggesting to him that he not do so.

Ebanks said he needed to be heard: he did not kill the young man and did not assist anyone. He said he was quoting Police Commissioner David Baines saying “Today is a grave day for justice in the Cayman Islands.”

He repeated, “I did not kill Tyrone Burrell,” then turned and went downstairs into the holding cells.

Ms Organ, who instructed Martin Heslop for Ebanks’ defence, would not answer any questions from reporters about lodging an appeal.

The case for the prosecution was presented by Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward, assisted by Crown Counsel Marilyn Brandt. 

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