Father hopes for justice in son's slaying

Yates murder case still open after charges dropped

The father of a man who was shot in the head outside a West Bay restaurant in January says he still hopes for justice for his son following the collapse of the trial against the accused killer. 

Justin Manderson, who was charged with the murder of Victor Yates, was freed last week after key Crown witnesses declined to give evidence. Manderson had denied the charge. 

Oliver Yates, the father of the victim, said he was disappointed that the trial had not gone ahead, but still hopeful that the murder would eventually be solved. 

“I know they have left the case open, so I am still hopeful that whoever is responsible will face justice,” he said. Mr. Yates believes several people witnessed the killing of his son, and he is still hopeful that one of them will come forward and give evidence. 

“It is not just my son,” he said. “How many people have been killed and witnesses don’t come forward? Someone needs to step up and get justice. Come forward and put people behind bars who are killing our friends, our brothers and sisters.” 

Victor Yates, 22, known as JR, worked at the Cayman Spirits Company, where managers say he was one of their hardest workers. He was shot in the head as he attempted to get on his motorcycle after spending the night playing pool at a fish fry close to the Super C restaurant in West Bay on Jan. 3. 

Police said at the time that there were at least 20 people in the area when the shooting took place. 

Mr. Yates said, “The people that witnessed my son’s murder were friends of his and hung out with him. Are they going to let whoever killed him get away with it? 

“The only thing I am hoping is that somebody has a conscience. When they try to sleep at night, they picture what they saw happen to that boy and that they come forward and do something about it.” 

Mr. Yates believes Cayman has reached the point where it is more dangerous for people not to come forward when they witness violent crime. 

“What is sad about this whole thing is that in the Cayman Islands we are such a close-knit community. We go to school together, we cross each other on the road every day, we know each other’s mothers and fathers. 

“We are making a more dangerous society for ourselves. Women are getting shot now and we are just going to let this happen? 

“It is not gang wars or turf wars or anything like that. It is just people with a negative mentality, watching too much TV or listening to too much rap music.” 

He said those who have witnessed crimes in Cayman and have not come forward need to step up. 

“Hopefully, one of these days, someone decides to do the right thing. That’s my hope for any crime that has been committed here in Cayman. 

“It is not just me, a lot of people have lost their children like that. You can’t just tell their parents to forget about it. Losing a child doesn’t get easier over time. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t have the words. 

“I have been thinking about it ever since it happened and I can’t find any sense in it. He was a good kid.” 

A police spokesman confirmed, “The investigation is still open and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will continue to seek sufficient evidence to bring those responsible for the murder of Victor Oliver Yates Jr to justice.” 

Oliver Yates, pictured in January as he dug son

Oliver Yates, pictured in January as he dug son’s grave in a West Bay cemetery. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

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  1. My thoughts & prayers are with you Mr. Yates, and with everyone who has the ability to step up & make a difference. I pray for strength for those individuals, that they come forward and begin to break this cycle of violence & dysfunction.