Two men seen aboard a boat in South Sound last year have denied any knowledge of two handguns found in the roots of what is known as the “shoe tree” or “flip-flop tree along the South Sound shore.
Gerald Jaleel Bush, 21, and Rico Roy Walton, 29, have pleaded not guilty to possession of the unlicensed firearms, recovered by police in South Sound shortly after midnight on June 25, 2017.
Last week, jurors heard and saw evidence of a boat coming into the South Sound channel and the route it took, via footage from the police helicopter. They also heard the defendants’ interviews with police shortly after the incident.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran closed the case for the prosecution on Friday.
Defendant Mr. Bush is named first on the indictment and he elected to give evidence. He said he and Mr. Walton had gone fishing about twice a week for about a year. On the night of June 24, they launched their boat in South Sound and went to the area off Pedro Castle. When they arrived, they realized they had forgotten their bait.
They decided to make their way back in. He agreed that the boat seen in the helicopter footage was their boat and he was in it. He said he got off the boat in the area of Old Crewe Road because he was going to walk to the nearby gas station and buy bait. Then he realized he did not have his wallet. He phoned Mr. Walton to ask if his wallet was in the boat and Mr. Walton said no, but his truck keys were.
That was why he was walking toward the South Sound dock and not the gas station when police saw him, he explained.
On Monday, Mr. Bush told the court he had pictures of guns on his iPhone because he had researched them for a military computer game he plays, called “Call to Duty.” He said there was a conversation on the phone with a friend from Jamaica because they were planning a boat party to make money.
Mr. Bush was scheduled to be questioned by Mr. Moran after the lunch adjournment.
In Mr. Walton’s interview with police, he said he let his friend off the boat to go to the gas station. He said he was then going back to the South Sound dock to look in the truck. He denied getting out of the boat at the “flip-flop tree” and said he never came to land before docking.
He said he had never been to that tree and had no reason to go there, although he driven past it. He said he had no knowledge of the guns, but maybe some other activity had gone on. Asked if he or Mr. Bush had imported the guns, he said no.