Faced with six counts of murder, Campus Trendz accused Jamar Dewayne Bynoe yesterday claimed innocence of the capital offence.
Delivering an unsworn statement in the No.2 Supreme Court this morning, Bynoe, of Headley’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael denied being part of “any plan” to murder Shanna Griffith, Kelly-Ann Welch, Pearl Cornelius, Kellyshaw Olivierre, Nikita Belgrave and Tiffany Harding on September 3, 2010.
“I did not in any way plan or was part of any plan to rob that store, Campus Trendz, or setting fire to anyone there. I know nothing whatsoever about these crimes different [from] being here charged . . . and that’s the gospel truth,” the murder-accused told the court, presided over by Madam Justice Michelle Weekes.
Clad in a red shirt, black waistcoat, red and black tie and black pants, it took Bynoe an hour and 15 minutes to detail his activities on the tragic day, as well as the days following leading up to his arrest.
The 12-member jury heard that on September 3, 2010, Bynoe was in charge of looking after a house in Lower Burney, St Michael on behalf of his uncle Richard Bynoe, who is overseas.
After running some errands, Bynoe said he returned to Lower Burney around 5 p.m. and did some chores at his uncle’s house before preparing for his Sabbath.
“My Sabbath I would hold from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday in private worship, meditation, fasting and rest . . . I [turned] off the television which at the time was showing Days Of Our Lives to have complete silence. When I started my Sabbath it was around 6:45 p.m. and ended . . . at sunset the next day,” the accused man said.
He stressed that at no time during the “Sabbath” did he leave Lower Burney, “to go nowhere outside . . . not even to no part or no place in Bridgetown.
“On the evening and or the night of September 3, 2010, I was not in possession of any pep bottle or glass bottle with gasoline . . . [nor did I] go to Tudor Street alone or in the company of [any] one and entered the building known as Campus Trendz and brought anyone there to set fire to the said building which caused the death of these six young ladies,” he said as he read from his written statement.
In fact Bynoe claimed that the first time he became aware of the Campus Trendz store fire was by reading the Sunday Sun.
“I never even knew anything of a store [by the] name of Campus Trendz far less entering or setting fire to it . . . neither did I run through those alleys in the surrounding area from Tudor Street, because I was nowhere in the area on the night of 3rd September 2010.”
Bynoe went on to explain that he was arrested on September 10 – seven days later – under raining conditions while at Headley’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael. However, he said he was told that he was being detained for resisting arrest when “a number of persons with guns in their hands ran into the area shouting ‘get down on the ground’.”
The Campus Trendz accused said it was only after he was questioned by the late Superintendent of Police Livingston Eversley and Sargeant Mitchell Roach and put through an identification parade at the Glebe Police Station, he became aware that he was being investigated for the death of the six young women.
Bynoe was later charged for the murders.
Today, Bynoe also opened his defence in the case by calling three witnesses – Tim Slinger, an associate managing editor at the Nation newspaper; Police Public Relations Officer, Acting Assistant Superintendent David Welch and Acting Inspector Eric Franklyn – to the stand.
Slinger was questioned about the description of the tragedy, as well as that given of the two men wanted by police in a September 5, 2010 article authored by him.
ASP Welch was then asked about the description and whether he had given the newspaper the description of “two dark men” wanted by police. However Welch said while he had made an appeal to the public for help in capturing the men, he did not at anytime give the media “any description or a sketch of the suspects”.
The trial continues on Monday at 1p.m.