Jacket ownership admitted, robbery denied

One of the three defendants in the Blackbeard’s liquor store robbery trial told jurors on Monday that he had owned a black jacket identified as worn by one of the robbers, but denied he had been wearing it in the Dec. 17, 2014 holdup.

Randy Dale Connor said he had given the jacket to Andrew Lopez, who, along with Connor and Bron Webb, is also accused of the robbery of the Grand Harbour store and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

All three have pleaded not guilty. Lopez and Webb presented their defense last week. Connor concluded his evidence on Monday afternoon.

The jury began hearing closing speeches on Tuesday, with Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards summing up the case for the Crown. Lead counsel Bernard Tetlow expected to conclude his address on behalf of Lopez shortly after the lunch adjournment Tuesday. He was to be followed by lead counsel Brendan Kelly for Webb and then counsel for Connor.

The final address will come when Justice Francis Belle instructs the 11-member jury on the law pertaining to the case and sums up the evidence before jurors retire to consider their verdicts.

Connor, who is represented by attorneys John Furniss and Crister Brady, said Lopez asked him for the jacket around the last two weeks of October 2014. He said he did not tell this to police when he was interviewed after the robbery because he was sick and upset at the time and “It was never asked of me.”

He had denied ownership because the jacket police showed him was torn, but the jacket he gave Lopez was not torn. He did not deny that his DNA was on the jacket, but said he did not know why Lopez’s DNA would not be on the jacket.

On the evening of the robbery, Connor told the court, he was working on a car with a friend at a house three or four houses away from Lopez’s residence in Prospect. They did not finish, but when they stopped, he cleaned up and then walked to the main road to hitch a ride back to George Town. He met a girl there who was also trying to catch a ride; he introduced himself and they talked.

Connor said he saw Lopez drive by and he asked for a ride. He said Lopez told him he could not give him a ride but could let him use his phone. For that reason, Connor walked back to Lopez’s house. He said he had never been in the house, but he had been to the house twice with a cousin.

Ms. Richards asked why he had gone to the back of the house, since he had said when he went there with his cousin, the person they came to see had come out the front door. Connor said he knew Lopez’s bedroom was in the back of the house because he had been told.

He denied being in a storeroom at the back of the premises, where a police officer gave evidence of seeing Connor. He pointed to a map to show where in the yard he was walking when police stopped him.

He disagreed with the suggestion that his account of walking to the main road and walking back again was a deliberate lie.

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