“That man there is serving a life sentence for murder,” defense counsel Michael Wolkind told the Grand Court jury Friday as he pointed to Raziel Jeffers, who is on trial for the murder of Damion Ming.
When Jeffers entered the witness box to testify, the first question Mr. Wolkind asked was, “Raziel Jeffers, did you kill Damion Ming?”
“No sir,” the defendant replied.
He is accused of committing the murder on the night of March 25, 2010, in a yard off Birch Tree Hill Road in West Bay.
When prosecution counsel Andrew Radcliffe questioned Jeffers, he referred to a previous incident, saying Jeffers had killed someone and had a conviction for murder.
“I was convicted, but I didn’t do it,” Jeffers answered.
Neither attorney went into detail about the previous incident.
Jeffers’s evidence about March 25, 2010, was that he went to his cousin’s house in West Bay to do some work on an apartment complex. He then went back to George Town, where he was staying in a house his father owned. Also living there at the time was the woman who testified against him in this trial.
Jeffers said she got really upset when he said he was going back out. He said she came at him, stabbing him in the leg with a pen.
He said he left the house when two men, whom he named, came to pick him up in a silver Honda. They went back to West Bay because the driver wanted to see his father. He said he stopped at his baby-mother’s house, also in West Bay, because he thought his own mother would be there and he wanted to get $25. He explained that the men were going to a bar and he wanted his own money.
Mr. Radcliffe suggested that it was just “bad luck” that Jeffers was in West Bay when a murder took place, and then he went “back down the island again.”
“Yes, sir,” the defendant agreed.
He denied ever calling Ming an enemy. He said they were friends in school and socialized for a year or two afterward. Asked if things changed between them after Ming came out of jail, Jeffers replied that he wouldn’t say things changed between them, “but things change in life in general.” He said he did not know if Ming started associating with men from the Logwoods area of West Bay. He said he was not upset with Ming.
“You were convinced he was sleeping with your woman?” Mr. Radcliffe asked.
“She was not my woman,” Jeffers replied.
Earlier he explained that he had met the woman in May 2008, when she had told him she was 17 [but was really 16]. They were intimate the next day and he started seeing her about twice a week. He denied that their seeing each other ever became a relationship. He called it “social intimacy.”
Jeffers said he never told the woman he loved her or wanted to stay with her. “I used to tell her don’t take things too seriously, I need time for myself,” he said.
Jeffers agreed he and the woman did stay together in two different places, but then he went to his father’s house. Because he was concerned about the baby she had in 2009, he told her she could come, but when she was 18 she would have to get her own place.
Asked if there was a time when the woman went off to be with Ming, he said yes – in January/February 2010. He said he wasn’t upset; in fact, he was glad that someone else was taking the burden, and he helped her move her stuff. He said she came back to his father’s house in early March because one night she called him and said two masked men were outside the window of her apartment. He now believed that was a lie, but at the time he invited her back because of the child.
The woman’s evidence in this trial included her assertion that Jeffers had confessed to her, giving details of how he shot Ming.
Jeffers denied confessing anything to the woman; he did not agree that she was afraid of him or that he was a bully. He pointed out that he was bigger than she, so on the night she stabbed him he could have hurt her, but he didn’t.
He was asked if he was seriously suggesting that a woman would falsely accuse him of murder because a relationship didn’t work out; he said yes. He also guessed that the woman thought his family wanted her baby, and she had been kicked out of his father’s house with nowhere to go.
“She couldn’t get back at my family, so she got back [at me],” Jeffers said.
The Crown concluded its case Friday morning, after which Mr. Wolkind made his comments and called Jeffers to give his evidence.