Accused and girlfriend were apart at time of shooting

Crown and defence agree on several facts in murder trial of Tareek Ricketts

Tareek Ricketts, on trial for the murder of Jackson Rainford, was not with his girlfriend at the time Mr. Rainford was shot, jurors heard on Friday.

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards read into the record facts that she and defence counsel Jon Ryder agreed to. Several of them referred to the location of individuals, their cell phones and/or vehicles at various times throughout the night of 16 December, 2012, when Mr. Rainford was shot and killed.

In opening the case to the jury last week, Ms Richards said Ricketts went to the police station with his girlfriend the night of the shooting. He denied shooting anyone and told police he was with his girlfriend that evening.

According to the agreed upon facts, the 911 call reporting the shooting was made at 10.31pm from the telephone of a truck driver who stopped on Shedden Road as Mr. Rainford’s brother was trying to wave someone down for assistance.

The agreement signed on behalf of Ms Richards and Mr. Ryder further states, “It is admitted that [the girlfriend] was in the Prospect area prior to 11pm and the defendant, Tareek Ricketts, was in the George Town area.”

The admitted facts clarify that the defendant and his girlfriend “were not together at the time of the murder and were not together until after 11pm”.

They attended the George Town police station together that night. Mr. Ricketts was swabbed for gunshot residue; nothing of evidential value was recovered.

While being processed at 2.05am on 17 December, after arrest and caution, Mr. Ricketts told police, “This morning I went to baby christening, then I made a check at my girlfriend‘s house. Then I checked by friends by Little Darlings [a store on Shedden Road], then I went and stay with my girlfriend to stay with my kids.”

Jurors were also told that the defendant has no previous convictions.

On the date of the shooting, he owned a 2002 gray Ford Explorer. The vehicle had nine unique characteristics that enabled analysts to identify the vehicle as seen by national road cameras at various times and locations.

These characteristics included a mohawk chrome feature at the front of the centre portion of the roof; a chrome skull and cross bone feature in the rear corners of the windows on both sides; and a front add-on grill design.

Jurors were shown images from closed-circuit television cameras depicting the defendant’s vehicle until it turned from Smith Road onto Crewe Road at 8.34pm. From 8.34pm until 10.31pm, the defendant’s car did not pass any of 10 cameras in the area.

At 10.31pm, the vehicle is seen travelling from the Crewe Road/Smith Road slip road, heading along Crewe Road; two minutes later, it is seen turning into Tropical Gardens.

Justice Alexander Henderson said the jurors would have to be able to access the CCTV images during their deliberations.

Other facts admitted into evidence pertained to the autopsy results. Forensic pathologist Mark Shuman found a perforating gunshot wound 4 and 3/8 inches below the top of the head. The direction of the path of the wound was left to right, upward and back to front.

He found a second gunshot wound in the upper left chest. The direction of the path of the wound was left to right, front to back and slightly upward, the court heard. No soot or stipple was associated with either wound.

Jurors previously heard from the victim’s brother, Che Rainford, who said he saw the gunman approach the car he and Jackson were sitting in. He did not call Tareek Ricketts’s name, but identified the gunman as the man who was in a relationship with Jackson’s wife.

Formal admissions read into evidence by Ms Richards included facts pertaining to photograph identification.

On 19 December, with attorney Prathna Bodden present on behalf of Tareek Ricketts, Che Rainford picked out a photograph of Ricketts in a photo lineup of 12 people of like appearance for him to identify the person he said he saw.

He was told prior to viewing that the photo of the person may or may not be included. He viewed the photographs and pointed to photograph six, which was a picture of Tareek Ricketts.