US prosecutors have declined to release names and addresses of the witnesses and co-conspirators involved in a gun-running operation between south Florida and Grand Cayman after attorneys for one of the suspects in the case requested those records earlier this year.
“The disclosure of the names and addresses of government witnesses is likely to endanger the safety of the witnesses and the viability of the prosecution,” prosecutors noted in a 26 July court filing. “Several potential witnesses have expressed fear of retaliation from the defendants and their associates.”
A total of six individuals have been charged in the gun smuggling, which occurred between 2008 and 2009. Only two of the suspects, Mikkyle Brandon Leslie and Alexander Michael Henry (identified as Michael Alexander Henry), have been named thus far in federal court indictments.
US attorneys claimed the defendants in the smuggling case and other associates “have engaged in violent acts” during the investigation of the gun-running matter, supporting the witness fears.
According to federal court records: “Firearm purchase records show that on December 21, 2008, defendant Leslie bought a Glock Model 19, 9 mm semi-automatic pistol at Big Al’s Gun and Pawn in Pembroke Pines, Florida, bearing serial number [XXXXXX]….as well as four other firearms. A firearm bearing the same first five letters and numbers of the serial number, with an obliterated sixth digit, was seized from an associate of defendant Leslie in Grand Cayman on 1 February, 2011.
“This firearm was also later identified as having been used in a shooting at the home of a chief magistrate judge in the Cayman Islands who had presided over court hearings related to defendant Leslie’s arrest and conviction for murder.”
That shooting occurred at former Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale’s home in Savannah on 8 August, 2009. No arrests in connection with that incident have ever been reported and it was never made clear that the judge herself was the target of the shootings.
Mrs. Ramsay-Hale has since departed the Cayman Islands to take a Grand Court post in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
However, police records indicate that the murder charge against Leslie in connection with the killing of Omar Samuels wasn’t filed until early September 2009 and so had not come before the court.
Less than two weeks after the charge was filed, Magistrate Ramsay-Hale agreed to hold a closed-door court hearing in the Samuels murder case. Journalists and other members of the public were not allowed to attend the proceedings.
In July of this year, 26-year-old Robert Lewis Terry had his prison sentence reduced from 12 years to nine years in connection with the possession of the 9-mm Glock that US authorities said had been purchased in Pembroke Pines in 2008 by Leslie. Terry has never been implicated in the shooting at former Magistrate Ramsay-Hale’s house.
Terry was sentenced in December 2011 after pleading guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm in an incident at the Caribbean Club in February 2011.
According to court records, he and others had gone in two vehicles to the parking area of the Seven Mile Beach resort.
Resort staff called police and took steps to prevent the vehicles from driving off after seeing some of the men apparently removing the licence plate of one of the vehicles (Caymanian Compass, 9 December, 2011).
The men ran from the scene, with Terry the last to leave.
He was seen carrying a green bag that he threw into a nearby bush. When found, the bag contained a pistol and eight 9 mm rounds, according to court records.