A domestic helper claimed in court Monday that Leonard Antonio Ebanks had confessed to her that he killed Swiss banker Frederic Bise because he was gay and owed him $1,000.
Arlene White told a Grand Court jury that Ebanks had told her he hit the “white man” twice with a block and later, along with his cousin Chad Anglin, put the man’s body in his car and set it on fire.
She said Ebanks, whom she knew as “Tonio” or “Mad Max,” was a regular visitor to her employer’s house in West Bay.
She said he was very talkative and within three weeks of meeting in June, 2010, he confided to her his role in the killing of Bise.
Under cross-examination from Ebanks’s attorney, Courtenay Griffiths, Ms. White acknowledged that she had been paid a total of $53,000 to date through the witness protection program and had been questioned by police as a potential witness in three separate murder inquiries.
She acknowledged she had previously testified that Ebanks had confessed to killing another man, Tyrone Burrell, who was shot near the home where she worked in 2010.
She accepted the defendant was currently serving a life sentence for that crime, partly because of her evidence.
She agreed that she had first given a statement to police about Ebanks’s confession to the 2008 murder of Frederic Bise the day after signing a $400-a-month agreement to become a protected witness, based on her evidence in the Burrell murder.
She also accepted she had not told police about the alleged confession in the Bise case, when she had reported his admissions in the Burrell case.
Questioned about her links to the defendant, she accepted she had suggested to him that she could put him in touch with people in Jamaica who had the power to “wash away” his drug addiction by “praying and so forth.” But she denied telling him it would cost $2,000.
In her evidence in chief, she said Ebanks, who used cocaine, regularly visited her employer at his home in Birch Tree Hill, which the court previously heard was known as a “drug yard.”
She said “Tonio” had told her he needed to speak with her one day in late June or early July 2010, because something was bothering him.
“He told me he went to a white man house and him knock him out with a block and the man dead. He put him in a vehicle and drove him round West Bay,” she said.
She said he and his cousin Anglin had first come to her employer’s house with the body but had been told to go away.
“The he went back to the white man house and catch the vehicle on fire with the man in it,” she said Ebanks told her.
She said she tried to “play it cool” but was afraid and asked him again if he had really killed the man or if he was joking and he said “yes, he did it.”
She added, “As soon as I got space, I let the cops know what was going on.”
She said she left the island after entering witness protection on Oct. 3, 2010. She acknowledged, under cross examination, that she had not worked since that time.