Jurors in the Campus Trendz murder trial today heard a very detailed statement which the accused, Jamar Bynoe, allegedly gave to police. They also saw video footage recorded during the time the Tudor Street, Bridgetown store was being robbed and torched.
Bynoe, of Headley’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael, is on trial for the September 3, 2010 murder of six young women who perished during the incident. The deceased are Shanna Griffith, Kelly-Ann Welch, Pearl Cornelius, Kellishaw Olivierre, Nikita Belgrave and Tiffany Harding.
The No. 2 Supreme Court heard today from Sergeant Mitchell Roach who assisted the late Superintendent Livingston Eversley in investigating the case.
Reading from the statement which Roach said Bynoe gave voluntarily to police, he testified that during an interview Eversley told the accused that he suspected he was one of the persons who had robbed Bibbi Ally, stabbed her and set her store on fire, causing the death of six women.
The late superintendent also told Bynoe that the circumstances amounted to murder. Roach said Bynoe then agreed to give a self-penned statement, which he and Eversley signed afterwards.
In the September 11, 2010 statement, Bynoe outlined how he had come down with gastroenteritis and had been away from work for a few days. He was at the time a line-cook with
a St Lawrence Gap restaurant.
He also said he had been a diligent worker, had worked overtime on occasions and had never been absent or tardy. He said a supervisor called him to ask whether he had a sick certificate. However, four days later when he returned to work from sick leave, his belongings had been packed up and another person had been hired to replace him.
This made his “head hot”, the accused reportedly said, particularly since no-one would lend him any money when he had done so for others before. Days later, he told a friend of his, ‘A’, that he knew where he could get some easy money from; that place being the Campus Trendz store.
Before committing the act, according to the statement, Bynoe went to an old tyre shop where he filled two PET bottles with gasoline, placed cloth in the bottle mouths and put them in his bag. He also had a haversack with a cutlass inside, which ‘A’ carried.
Bynoe also told police that he had a sock hat and a pair of shades in the bag. When he and his friend reached the store, he gave ‘A’ the bag with the gasoline before they entered.
Bynoe described seeing an Indian woman sitting inside near the cash register and how, after demanding cash which she refused to hand over each time, he pulled her out of the chair. She continued to refuse and he stabbed her in the leg.
Meanwhile, ‘A’ lit one of the bottles of gasoline and threw it inside the store, causing the Indian woman to again say she was not giving them any money because “the fire taking up all the money”.
‘A’ then came over by the cash register and tried to open it, while patrons were running outside. Bynoe and his accomplice eventually got the money and ran out of the store, travelling through alleys and St Mary’s Church yard, before making their way to the van stand and taking a Route 3 taxi to ‘Vietnam’.
They later discarded the weapons in the St Leonard’s Church yard and Bynoe took the money home with him. The two met again later that night in the churchyard where they split the
$1, 200. He bought two jeans and some shirts with his portion.
Bynoe also said in the statement that when he heard later that night that women had died in the store, he felt afraid and sorry for what he had done.
He later put the hat and shades in a garbage bag and threw them in a garbage can at his uncle’s Lower Burney residence, which he was keeping. The shoes which he wore on the night of the fire were cut up and thrown into a bushy area, and the PET bottles in which he collected the gasoline were left on the Empire playing field, Bynoe said.
Roach told the court that Bynoe also took Eversley and himself to all the areas referred to in the statement. However, Bynoe insisted today that he never gave any statement to police.
Approximately two minutes of video footage was also shown to the court today. In it, patrons and staff were seen in the store when one man entered. He appeared to be carrying a knife and was seen making stabbing motions.
Another man could also be seen lighting what appeared to be a piece of cloth hanging from a bottle; it was followed immediately by a bright flash of light. Several women were also caught dashing frantically into a room at the back of the store, while others were seen running out.
The trial is expected to continue on Monday.
Bynoe, who is representing himself, cross-examined the witness.
Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale is appearing on the Crown’s behalf in the case which is being presided over by Justice Michelle Weekes.