After spending 8 years in prison …”9 FREED, 3 ON TRIAL FOR MURDER”

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Nine men were freed of murder on Friday. But three others charged in the same case, will face a jury.

The nine men walked out of the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, after Justice Devan Rampersad upheld a no case submission from their attorneys, who claimed that State prosecutors had presented insufficient evidence against them.

The men are, Reinaldo Marcano, 36, Raymond Birot, 45, Kurt Serrette, 36, Terrence “Trix” David, 36, Keston Morris, 29, Gerard Hepburn, 26, Keon “Taliban” Lawrence, 26, Joel “Snake” Roberts, 27, and 26-year-old Devon Victor.

But their three friends, Sherwin Alexander, 32, Richard “Bulls” Thomas, 36, and 23-year-old Sean Villafana, will face the jury. They had their no-case submissions dismissed and therefore now has the option to go into the witness box and give evidence or call witnesses to testify in their defence before the jury embarks on deliberations.
After delivering the ruling, Rampersad directed the 12-member jury to enter not guilty verdicts in favour of the nine men.

The freed men were transported in three vehicles, including one with Sea Lots community leader, Cedric “Burkie” Burke.

The group of men were on trial for murdering 24-year-old Amiel George on January 18, 2010.

George was standing near his home at Harding Place, Cocorite, when he was attacked by a group of men, who robbed him of a gold chain before chopping him several times. While no one witnessed the attack, residents claimed to have seen the men fleeing the scene in a maxi taxi.

A maxi taxi fitting the description was eventually intercepted along Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain, with the 12 accused inside. The blood-stained cutlass, which was used in the attack, was recovered inside.

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