Rita Martinez gives evidence in murder trial
A woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder a “numbers man” who was shot dead on her doorstep, a court heard on Monday.
Details of how 64-year-old Rita Martinez was arrested by police investigating the death of Marcos Duran emerged as she gave evidence in the murder trial of Raziel Jeffers.
Rita Martinez is the aunt of Jeffers’s ex-girlfriend and “baby mother” Megan Martinez, who last week testified that he had told her details of how he planned and aided and abetted the robbery that led to the fatal shooting in West Bay in 2010.
Rita Martinez was never charged in connection with the crime; she was called to court as a witness.
During her testimony, it emerged that she had been arrested and questioned by police after changing her statement to say that Jeffers had not visited her apartment on Maliwinas Way on the night of the killing.
The prosecution alleges that Jeffers was inside the apartment and tipped off his accomplices when Mr. Duran left the home so that they could rob him of his takings.
Mr. Duran was shot dead, prosecutors say, after trying to grab a gun from one of the robbers.
Ms. Martinez testified that the Ecuadorian numbers man had visited her just prior to the shooting. Immediately after he left, she says, she heard a thump and then saw Mr. Duran slumped on the floor outside her door, at which point she called 911.
She said she had spent the night drinking Coca Cola and watching “Law and Order” on television and had no other visitors other than Mr. Duran. She accepted that she had told police in one of her statements, several months after the killing, that Jeffers had visited her just prior to the shooting.
But under oath, in court on Monday, she said she had made that statement because she was “stressed and confused” and felt pressured by police officers.
She said Jeffers was a regular visitor to the house because of his relationship with her niece. But she told the court she was “absolutely sure” he had not called on that night.
She was challenged by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards, QC, who read out a statement she had made to the police in June, four months after the killing, saying that Jeffers had visited her home just minutes before the numbers man arrived and that the two men could have passed each other on the stairs.
In that statement, she told police she had not mentioned this fact initially as she did not think it was relevant.
She told the court on Monday that she had been mistaken when she made that statement in June.
“They had pressured me, saying they were told he had been there and I just got confused,” she said.
Questioned again by Jeffers’s lawyer Brian O’Neill, QC, about her multiple statements to police, she acknowledged that she had been arrested herself by police after appearing for an earlier court hearing in connection with the killing.
Mr. O’Neill read a letter which she agreed she had written to the court on a previous occasion, giving details of her arrest in connection with the death of the numbers man.
Ultimately, she was not charged with any offense and was allowed to give a retraction to her statement to clarify that Jeffers had not visited her on the night of the murder.