Shawn Andre Weekes was today found guilty of the murder of Leo Callender, who died 20 years ago.
The unanimous verdict came at 3:45 p.m. after the 12-member jury deliberated. Justice Carlisle Greaves remanded Weekes until December 4, 2020 for sentencing.
Weekes, who resided in the Crane St Philip, was on trial for the October 29, 2000 murder of Callender. The deceased was 24 years old at the time of his shooting death at a shop in the area.
A pre-sentencing report is expected to be completed and made available to the defence and prosecution on November 8. The prosecution is expected to prepare sentencing submissions for November 2 while the defence will respond to those submissions on December 2.
The prosecutor, Senior Crown Counsel Neville Watson called a number of witnesses including the shop owner, Juanna Craig, firearms and tool mark expert Graham Husbands, police officer Denis Small, arresting officer Bernard Harte and Avis Callender, the deceased’s mother.
Craig, who was at home on the day of the incident braiding her daughter’s hair, recalled hearing a commotion outside her shop. She looked outside and said she saw Callender crawling on the steps of her shop, which is attached to her home. Standing above Callender, she said, was Weekes with a gun in his hand. Craig went back to braiding her daughter’s hair after Weekes pointed the gun at her and she then heard explosions.
They were other witnesses who placed Weekes at the shop that day as well.
Husbands matched the bullet taken from Callender’s body to the gun retrieved from the home of Jason Weekes. Officer Denis Small said, in his evidence that Shawn Weekes resided at this same house.
Evidence also revealed that Weekes left the island days after the incident and travelled from St Lucia to Canada and then crossed the border to the USA. Almost 11 years later, he was brought back to Barbados by two USA agents and arrested at the GAIA airport by officer Harte. Weekes claimed he did not run from Barbados but “always wanted to go to America”.
His unsworn statement also placed him at the shop. He recalled how he and some guys were liming on the block when Callender passed waving an orange handled scissors and said ‘I’m coming back for ya’ll just now’. Weekes and the guys then armed themselves with rocks and bottles and went to the shop where they attacked Callender.
Defense lawyer Dr Lenda Blackman had argued that there was no forensic evidence linking Shawn to the weapon. She strongly condemned the lack of fingerprint testing. She also said that the wounds inflicted on Callender did not indicate an intention to kill (he was shot in the thigh and buttocks). Blackman criticized much of the evidence in the Crown’s case suggesting that it was not evidence of a quality nature to satisfy the case and that it left “doubts”.
However, Watson compared the evidence to a scene from the “wild, wild west”. He said Weekes and his “band of cohorts” went to the shop “stopping the merriment”; causing persons to scatter.
“When the dust settled, like in a cowboy movie, Callender lay fighting for his life,” he described.