Apollos Alexander faced four trials for murder during his 11 years in custody. Three of them were aborted.
On Thursday, the fourth trial ended and Alexander walked out of court a free man.
Alexander, 30, of Lodge Place, East Dry River, was before Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor in the Port of Spain Fourth Assizes.
She completed her directions to the jury and 35 minutes later they returned with their not-guilty verdict.
Alexander was before the court for the murder of Kwame “Butters” Julian at Observatory Street, Port of Spain, on October 5, 2007. Julian was speaking to a friend when he was approached by a gunman, who shot him in the back of the head.
Alexander’s previous trials before Justices Devan Rampersad, Mark Mohammed and Hayden St Clair-Douglas, in 2011, 2012 and 2014, were all aborted.
An application at the start of the trial by Alexander’s lawyers Wayne Sturge and Mario Merritt to have the murder indictment stayed permanently, since there were three trials without an outcome, was denied by the judge, who ruled that it would not be unconscionable to put him on a fourth trial, as the others were never completed.
The State’s main witness against Alexander was his half-sister, who was also Julian’s half-sister.
The defence alleged she fabricated her evidence, while the evidence of Sultan King, who also allegedly witnessed Julian’s murder, was also disputed by Alexander’s lawyers.
King was murdered after he testified at the preliminary inquiry into the murder, and his written evidence from that process was tendered as evidence at Alexander’s trial.
Alexander’s lawyers alleged that King was the killer and murdered Julian as revenge for the murder of gang leader Kerwin “Fresh” Phillips, who was killed weeks before.
Alexander said that at the time of the murder he was at the Port of Spain Magistrates Court with his brother.
MURDER OF “FRESH”
“Fresh”, the head of the G-Unit gang, was shot 20 times by gunmen armed with semi-automatic guns, while walking to his car at the corner of Oxford and Henry Streets, Port-of-Spain, at about 1.45 am on September 16, 2007.
The shooting death of Phillip caused patrons attending a fete at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at Henry Street, to scramble to safety bringing an end to the party.
According to reports, Phillip of Charford Court, Port-of-Spain, attended a $40 fete with a female friend at the CWU Hall on Saturday night. At about 1.45 am, he left the party and was walking towards his car barebacked.
Reports revealed that he was confronted by two men armed with a Galil rifle and another with a 9 mm gun. The gunmen began firing shots at Phillip who slumped to the ground. His female companion managed to escape unhurt and police reports revealed that a group of persons fleeing the fete robbed Phillip of his jewelry.
Phillip, 34, was a deportee from the United States, and was well known to the police.
On September 3, 2006, Phillip was one of the many gang leaders who signed a truce to put a stop to gang killings along the East/West Corridor. Reports revealed that Phillip also got a government contract to build a health centre at Charford Court.
On March 15, 2005, Phillip and another man Nazim Christian, of East Dry River, Port-of-Spain, appeared before Port-of-Spain Magistrate Avason Quinlan charged with armed robbery and possession of arms and ammunition.
On May 4, 2005, Christian was shot dead by the police at Basilon Street, Port-of-Spain. Police reported that Christian shot at them and they returned fire.