TRINIDAD-Triple murder accused attacked by fellow prisoners
KINGSTON –– Minutes after making his second appearance in court on Monday, triple murder accused Azmon Alexander was brutally attacked by a group of fellow prisoners at the Arima Magistrates’ Court. During the attack, Alexander, 29, who had moments before been sent for another week of evaluation at the St Ann’s Hospital, suffered a series of injuries, including a broken nose, swollen eyes and face, broken teeth and a stab wound to his back.
According to court sources, after his case was adjourned to next Monday by Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno, Alexander was led downstairs to the holding cell area of the courthouse, where prisoners awaiting transport to prison are kept. Alexander, who was initially kept in a separate cell when he was taken to the court earlier, was reportedly placed in a cell with over a dozen prisoners on remand for various offences, including murder.
Moments later, Court and Process Branch police on duty heard screams and rushed to the holding cell area, where they found the prisoners surrounding a bloodied and bruised Alexander. He was removed from the cell and taken to the nearby Arima Health Facility where he was examined by doctors and received treatment, including three stitches for a deep stab wound to his back.
Alexander was then transported to St Ann’s where he has been under police guard for the past few weeks. The Trinidad Guardian was reliably informed that although the prisoners involved were questioned, it might be difficult to lay charges against them as they did not provide any information, and the incident was not fully captured by the CCTV cameras.
Speaking with the Trinidad Guardian yesterday, Alexander’s attorney Fareed Ali described the vicious attack on his client as very disturbing.
“It bothers me because every accused before the court is entitled to due process of law, which means that you go through the legal channels to ventilate whatever issue the police has an individual there for,” Ali said.
Ali, who had asked the court to send Alexander to St Ann’s for evaluation when he first appeared on the murder charges on December 1, said he held the police responsible because they had a duty to ensure his safety while in their brief custody.
“He is essentially in the custody, care and control of police officers. The court cell officers are responsible for his care upkeep and for controlling not just him but all the elements there, police and prisoners,” Ali said.
While he wished to keep his proposed response close to his chest, Ali said he planned to take legal action to seek redress for his client.
“To be suffering in the way he is suffering is not right. I intend to utilize full legal channels in order to ventilate the facts relative to those injuries,” Ali said.
The Trinidad Guardian understands that Alexander’s family has already lodged a preliminary report with the Police Complaint Authority and may file a civil lawsuit seeking substantial damages for his injuries. Investigations are continuing.
Alexander and his 17-year-old relative face a combined total of 64 charges related to the disappearance of five members of a Brasso Seco family last month. On October 26, Irma Rampersad, 49, her two daughters Felicia, 17, and 19-year-old Jannelle Gonzales, Jannelle’s 14-month old baby Shania Amoroso and their next door neighbour Felix Martinez, 52, were reported missing.
After days of consecutive searches by police and soldiers, Martinez’s body was found on November 8. Three days later police found Rampersad and Amoroso’s bodies in a duffle bag in a forested area of the community. On November 15, police rescued the sisters from a make-shift camp which they stumbled upon while searching deep in the forest.
Alexander’s relative, who cannot be named as he is a minor, surrendered to police that day, with Alexander being captured at Lennox Yearwood Boulevard, Malabar, a week later.