Raziel Jeffers, who has already lost appeals against two convictions for murder, lost a third time on Thursday when the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against a conviction for manslaughter.
Jeffers, 34, had been charged “together with others,” of murdering Marcus Mauricio Guzman Duran on March 11, 2010, in West Bay. The Crown’s case was that Jeffers was the mastermind behind a plot to rob Mr. Duran, who sold illegal lottery numbers, but the robbery plan went wrong and Mr. Duran was fatally shot.
Court president Sir John Goldring said the victim had been killed by an unlawful act during an armed robbery “in respect of which there was ample evidence of [Jeffers’] involvement. Irrespective of the precise mechanism by which Mr. Duran suffered harm, the jury must have been sure that all sober and reasonable people would have realized that participation in an armed robbery carried the risk of some (albeit not necessarily serious) harm to another. That was a sufficient and safe basis to found the conviction for manslaughter.”
Chief Justice Anthony Smellie imposed a sentence of 20 years and that was not disturbed.
Jeffers was convicted in 2012 of murdering Marcus Leon Ebanks in West Bay in 2009 by gunshot. His appeal was dismissed the same year.
Jeffers was convicted in 2014 of murdering Damion Omar Ming, also by gunshot, in West Bay in March, 2010. His appeal was dismissed in 2015.
Last year, in preparation for the manslaughter appeal, Jeffers appeared before the court and explained that the credibility of his ex-girlfriend, an important Crown witness, would be challenged.
It was suggested that depending on the view the court took in the manslaughter appeal, the other conviction appeals might be revisited.
The appeal court judgment made it clear that the crucial evidence implicating Jeffers had come from his ex-girlfriend, although there was other evidence to support what she said. She had accepted that she had lied about other things, but she maintained the truth of her evidence about Jeffers’s admission to her regarding his involvement in the robbery.
“The Chief Justice made it plain to the jury that they could only convict if they were sure of the truthfulness and reliability of [her] evidence,” the court said.