A West Bay man twice confessed to the “savage” killing of Swiss banker Frederic Bise, whose badly beaten body was found in the burning wreck of his car, a court heard.
Leonard Ebanks told two women that he and his cousin Chad Anglin had killed 40-year-old Mr. Bise, Simon Russell-Flint QC said at the opening of the murder trial this week.
Anglin was convicted of his role in the murder following a trial earlier this year.
The prosecutor said Bise had been strangled and severely beaten around the head and neck before being dragged into the boot of his car, which was then set alight in the driveway of his West Bay home.
He said Mr. Bise, the vice-president and manager of the Portuguese Espirito Santo bank, was a big man and it would have required at least two people to place him in the back of the car. He told the jury that the prosecution would prove that it was Ebanks, along with Anglin, who had killed the banker in a “joint enterprise” murder.
He said, “Mr. Ebanks has confessed to this crime. The words came from his lips … He confessed not just once, not just to one person, but to two different people, wholly unrelated and unknown to each other.”
According to the prosecutor, Ebanks gave spontaneous and unprompted confessions to the two women revealing details that only one of the killers could have known.
In April 2008, he said, one of the women, who was in a relationship with Ebanks, told police that he had confessed to helping Anglin dispose of the body and had stolen property, including a phone and a computer, from Mr. Bise’s home in the process.
She said he had told her it was because “the man owed Chad money and that Chad and the white guy were gay.”
A second woman, a Jamaican housekeeper who was friendly with Ebanks, told police in October 2010 that he had confessed to her that he had “killed a white man.” She said he told her that he and his cousin had dropped concrete blocks on the man’s head. She said he told her he had done it because Mr. Bise was gay and owed him $1,000.
He said they had driven around West Bay with the body in the back of the car before torching the vehicle, according to the woman’s account.
When confronted by police about these confessions, Ebanks said the women were making it up and that one of them was being paid by police to do so.
The prosecutor said medical evidence showed that Mr. Bise, a divorced father of two and a homosexual, had intercourse with a man shortly before his death.
Footage from closed circuit television cameras, viewed by the jury, showed Mr. Bise chatting with Anglin at a jerk chicken stand opposite Kelly’s Bar in West Bay at around 1 a.m. on Feb. 8, 2008, the night of his death.
Witnesses have suggested that the pair left the area together in Anglin’s car.
The prosecutor said it was clear from a series of text messages retrieved from Mr. Bise’s phone that he had been looking to engage in sexual activity with another man on that night and that Anglin had been invited to leave with him for that purpose. Anglin’s motivations, he said, were less clear.
“Was it to take advantage of him for sexual purposes, or was it so that the homosexual Mr. Bise might be assaulted or robbed of his possessions?” he said.
“Or was it so that the gay Frederic Bise could meet Mr. Anglin’s cousin – this defendant, Leonard Ebanks?
“What we do know is that between the time of leaving the bar with Chad Anglin and the following morning, he was horrifically and brutally murdered.”
He said the precise location of the killing was unclear but fragments of sticks and grass were found with the body, while Mr. Bise’s trousers were pulled down to his thighs, “as if he had engaged in sexual activity.”
Mr. Bise’s watch and jewelry had been removed and an Apple computer had been stolen from his house.
A neighbor alerted the fire service to the flaming vehicle at around 6:50 a.m., and it was firefighters who discovered Mr. Bise’s body, wrapped in a blanket in the trunk of the silver Mitsubishi. A pathologist’s report showed that he was dead before he was placed in the vehicle, from multiple blows to the head, which fractured his skull and bones in his face. Mr. Russell-Flint said Mr. Bise had also been strangled with such force that the bones in his throat had been fractured.
He said a jogger had run past the property just after 6 a.m. but had seen no signs of the fire, while a bus driver had passed just under an hour later and saw the flames coming from the vehicle. The bus driver recalled seeing a figure moving away from the burning car, seemingly in a hurry, Mr. Russell-Flint said.
Ebanks denies he committed murder.