Jayvon Charles spent the last ten years in prison. He faced two trials for a double murder. But his luck paid off on Monday when a jury found him not guilty and he was freed from custody.
It was a case where two of the prosecution witnesses were killed – one murdered, and the other killed by the police.
Charles was charged with murdering Anthony Boodoo and Wilfred Mohammed on December 1, 2007.
It took a 12-member-jury just over an hour to acquit Charles. He was before Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor in the Port-of-Spain High Court.
Monday’s verdict came three years after Charles’ first trial before Justice David Harris, which ended with a hung jury.
It was the State’s case that around midday on that day, Boodoo, Mohammed and their friends Sheldon Bernard and Harold Joseph were liming outside a bar at the corner of Francis and Perigord Roads in Long Circular, St James.
Two armed men approached Boodoo and shot him several times.
The gunmen then threatened Bernard and other patrons but did not shoot at them. Before they fled the scene in an awaiting vehicle, one of the gunmen shot Boodoo two more times at close range.
Mohammed was hit by a stray bullet and died while receiving treatment at the hospital.
The State’s main witness was Joseph, who claimed to have hidden at a nearby business when the shooting began. Joseph identified Charles, whom he claimed to have known since he (Charles) was a little boy.
However, Joseph was murdered before Charles’ preliminary inquiry began and his statements given to police days after the incident were tendered into evidence.
Bernard, who was also a State witness, did not identify Charles as one of the shooters. Bernard testified at the preliminary inquiry and first trial but was killed by police during a shooting in St James in February last year.
Lennox Alexander, who was also liming at the bar on the day of the shooting, was called as a defence witness by Charles.
Alexander, who said he knew Charles for nine years, claimed that Joseph was intoxicated and did not witness the shooting as he left the bar minutes before the incident.
Alexander also gave a description of the shooters which matched Bernard’s account and denied that Charles was one of them.