Death by hanging
Campus Trendz trial ends with six guilty verdicts
Six years ago the deaths of six young women, who perished in a fire at the Campus Trendz store in the City, triggered a huge emotional outcry right across Barbados.
However, it was an emotionless Jamar Dewayne Orlando Bynoe who exited the No 2 Supreme Court, after he was sentenced to hang for the September 3, 2010 deaths of Shanna Griffith, Kelly-Ann Welch, Pearl Cornelius, Kellishaw Olivierre, Nikita Belgrave and Tiffany Harding.
After nearly three hours of deliberations, the 12-member jury – comprising seven women and five men – returned the unanimous guilty verdict just before 3:21 p.m., bringing the more than two month trial, which was presided over by Madam Justice Michelle Weekes, to an end.
Members of the jury had left the No 2 courtroom around 12: 30 p.m. after Justice Weekes had concluded her three-day summation of the trial, which began on April 12 and heard a total of 46 witnesses.
They would however return around 2:15 p.m. seeking a clarification from the judge on the legal definition of murder and manslaughter, as the accused quietly sat awaiting his fate.
In fact there was no outward sign of emotion the face of the accused killer. His only movement was with his eyes, as he looked straight ahead at judge and across to the jury from time to time with his bottom lip tucked between his teeth.
The jury would leave 15 minutes later after getting a thorough explanation from Justice Weekes about the difference between the two charges.
Fifty-one minutes later, with the Headley’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael resident back in the prisoners’ dock, the foreman would read aloud the final verdict of guilty for all six counts of murder.
It was then that the 25-year-old, who maintained innocence of the crimes throughout the trial, was asked by a court officer if he had anything to say before the Judge issued her sentence.
“No mam,” Bynoe replied before his final sentencing.
Still displaying no outward sign of emotion, he would be ushered out of the dock shortly afterwards by two prison guards, as he carried his yellow notepads in hand.
The prisoner, who has grown locks since his incarceration, was immaculately dressed in a red long sleeved shirt, black waistcoat, red and black tie and black pants, as he was hustled down to the holding cell area, into a waiting police vehicle and off to Dodds with sirens blazing on a police outrider.
There were no family members present in the courtroom today for the reading of the verdict.
However, When a Barbados TODAY team visited Bynoe’s Headley’s Land, Bank Hall community just after 4 p.m. some residents said they were not surprised by the outcome of the murder trial.
One woman, who said she knew “Jamar” from the time he was a little boy expressed regret at the turn of events.
“I am so sorry this happen to Jamar he was not a bad child. I don’t know what cause this to happen, but I pray for all the families, the girls’ families and Jamar’s family,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
A young man in his 20’s also described Bynoe as a “cool guy [who] was quiet [and] used to keep to himself.
“I don’t believe that he would put himself in that foolish trouble [but] from since he and Renaldo [Alleyne] get hold, there is only one way that would go,” the Bank Hall resident said.
Meantime a relative of Alleyne, who was previously sentenced to life behind bars after he was found guilty in August 2012 of the unlawful killing of the six young women, said Bynoe’s verdict was expected even though a mistrial had occurred two years ago, after eight weeks of legal proceedings, which were presided over at the time by Justice Randall Worrell.
With Principal Crown Counsel Allison Seale again prosecuting the case, the new trial began on April 12, one day after lead investigator Acting Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Livingston Eversley passed away.
During the two-month trial evidence given by 41 Crown witnesses, including Campus Trendz owner Bibi Ally; Bynoe’s uncle Richard Bynoe and Sergeant Mitchell Roach who assisted the late ACP Eversley with the investigations.
Bynoe, who represented himself, had also called five people to the witness stand namely, his brother Dwayne Bynoe; Police Public Relations Officer, Acting Assistant Superintendent David Welch; Acting Inspector Eric Franklyn and Tim Slinger, an associate managing editor at the Nation newspaper.