William Ian Rivers, on trial for the murder of Mark “Hubba” Seymour, sought shelter after the killing inside his partner’s house with her and their children because he wanted to spend time with his family before surrendering to police, a court heard Friday.
Justice Frank Williams and a jury of six men and six women heard evidence Friday from Loretta Ebanks, Mr. Rivers’s partner.
Mr. Rivers is accused of fatally shooting Mr. Seymour, an ex-boyfriend of his partner, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, outside Super C Restaurant on Watercourse Road in West Bay. At the time, Mr. Seymour was 39; Mr. Rivers was 38.
In April last year, he pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.
On Friday, defense attorney Crister Brady asked Ms. Ebanks if she were aware that Mr. Rivers had subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “Yes,” she replied.
The morning of the shooting was like any other day, Ms. Ebanks said. Mr. Rivers spoke to her mother, who told him she was going to town. He told her, “Take care” and asked where his children were.
Ms. Ebanks did not know about the shooting until after she heard some noise. Her house was across the street from the restaurant. Then she heard knocking and it was Mr. Rivers. Her grandmother had been outside and he brought her inside so she would be safe.
He said, “Loretta, please help me. I did something wrong. I need you to help me, please.” She did not know at the time what the “something wrong” was – “He just wanted me to stay with him.”
At one point he told her, “Stay with me, please. If you don’t stay with me, they will shoot me.”
He told the children, “Daddy love you and Daddy sorry. Today might be the last day we see each other.” Ms. Ebanks observed, “Him calming them down was helping him keep calm.”
Mr. Rivers told her to call 911. He said he would surrender to one particular officer, “but not everybody, because he didn’t want them to shoot him. He didn’t want to die. He didn’t want his children to be fatherless.”
At another point he told her, “I would never hurt you. My children going to be fatherless now, I don’t want them to be motherless. I would never hurt you. I love you too much.”
Ms. Ebanks said he asked police to give him a little time. He wanted to spend time with his family. “And then he surrendered.”
She also told the court about financial problems – Mr. Rivers had been out of work for about a year before the shooting occurred and “was taking it really hard.” When he got angry he would sit and drink. He would get upset, but not abusive and he didn’t hit her, she said.
“When he’s left alone, he calms down,” Ms. Ebanks said. She said Mr. Rivers did use ganja, but no other drug.
She agreed that she and Mr. Seymour had been boyfriend and girlfriend a long time ago, but that was before she and Mr. Rivers formed their relationship and Mr. Rivers knew about it.
She said there were rumors going around and people were telling Mr. Rivers that she was “a sell-out because they thought I was taking money from Mark, but it wasn’t true …. Not even one dime.”
She said Mr. Rivers did not want anyone else taking care of his family, not even her relatives, but he did appreciate what they did.
Ms. Richards asked if what people were telling Mr. Rivers just inflamed the situation and Ms. Ebanks agreed that it “made his depression worse.” She also agreed that Mr. Rivers was jealous over her: “He loves me,” she said.
He also loved the children they had together. When his mother gave him $100 for Christmas, for example, he took it and shared it with the four kids.
Asked if she wanted to help Mr. Rivers, she replied, “I wish I could help him, but I’m here to speak the truth. I love him. I always will.”
She said she did not know where Mr. Rivers got the gun from. She said he told her that a voice was telling him to kill himself, but she did not know of any specific thing he might have attempted.
The trial continues.