Thursday was a bad day for the State.
Five men were freed of murder. Two in San Fernando and three in Port-of-Spain. In the case in San Fernando, the two accused were awaiting trial for 15 years.
Two cousins, Bobby Ramlogan, 41, and Ryan Rancoo, 32, were charged with the November, 6, 2003 murder of Tommy Ramlogan, 59, who was shot dead at his Jordan Village, Princes Town home. Tommy was shot once to his chest. Ramlogan is the son of the deceased.
The trial started on April 9 before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine.
The State contended that Ramlogan shot his father while Rancoo was present. According to the State, Rancoo confessed to police he and Ramlochan murdered Tommy.
Ramlochan, the State said was found with gun residue powder on his hands.
However, defence attorneys argued that the gunshot residue found on Ramlogan’s hand was as a result of him holding his father’s body after he was shot.
The attorneys further argued that Rancoo, was also forced to sign a confession statement admitting to the murder.
According to the defence, the court heard on the night of the murder, Ramlogan, his father and mother, Rohini were asleep when bandits broke into their home.
The bandits ordered the family to hand over money and jewelry. The court also heard Tommy had also collected money following the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd.
Ramlogan and his mother were able to run out the house after the bandits shot Tommy.
The court heard Rohini climbed through a window and jumped unto a shed outside the house. Ramlogan ran through a room in the front of the house. They both ran to the homes of neighbours where they contacted police.
When police arrived at the house Tommy was already dead.
One year later, Rancoo and Ramlogan were arrested by police and released. The court heard they were re-arrested and charged with murder.
3 FREED IN PORT-OF-SPAIN
Three men from Sea Lots were acquitted of murdering a man during a robbery in Cocorite in 2010.
After spending eight years on remand, Sherwin Alexander, 32, Richard “Bulls” Thomas, 36, and Sean Villafana, 23, were found them not guilty of murdering 24-year-old Amiel George on January 18, 2010. They were also acquitted of the lesser count of manslaughter.
Their friends, 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 Devon Victor, 26, who were also charged with the crime, were freed by High Court judge Devan Rampersad in April.
Rampersad upheld a no case submission as he ruled that there was insufficient evidence linking the nine men to the crime.
However, the trio was not as lucky as Rampersad pointed out that the victim’s blood was found on their clothing when they were arrested shortly after the incident.
It took a 12-member jury almost four hour fors them to return with unanimous not guilty verdicts.
The 12 men were on trial for murdering 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 allegedly used in the attack, was recovered inside.
Throughout their preliminary inquiry, the men referred to police officers as the “Dirty Dozen”, repeatedly professed their innocence and frequently protested by banging against the walls of prison transport trucks while being conveyed to and from court.