Thu | Dec 5, 2019

MoBay gunmen nailed second time around - Walters brothers freed in viral gas station shooting convicted of unrelated attack

Published:Friday | November 8, 2019 | 12:45 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

Two brothers who were freed because of inconclusive video evidence after they were implicated in a brazen 2016 murder at a gas station in Glendevon, St James, were yesterday convicted in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston for an unrelated shooting.

O’Neil and O’Brian Walters were convicted of shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm in an incident that occurred on the same day of the gas station shooting.

In that incident, a woman identified as Andrea Johnson was shot and injured. Johnson provided a witness statement to the police but was shot and killed by unknown assailants before the start of the case.

“This is great news,” said Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commander of the St James police. “While Ms Johnson was not there in person to give evidence because she was killed, we were still able to present a credible case, using Section 31D of the Evidence Act, which allows us to use her witness statement.

“We hope this conviction will send a message to those criminals who believe that if they kill a witness, they will walk free. Thankfully, between scientific evidence and the Evidence Act, we have the tools to win convictions against them in court,” added Ellis.

According to the evidence against the brothers, who the police believe to be key players in the Church Lane Gang, on the morning of September 22, 2016, the brothers went on a shooting spree in Norwood in which Johnson was shot and injured. Later in the day, the police believed that they were the two men seen in a viral video brutally executing a man at a Glendevon service station. They were also implicated in another shooting incident that same day.

“While they were found not guilty in the gas station shooting, the shell casing found at all three shooting scenes that day match up, so we believe they were the perpetrators,” said Ellis. “We believe the community and the wider parish will be better off without them.”

The gas station case fell apart because the surveillance video captured by CCTV, on which the prosecution relied, was deemed unclear.

“You have footage that does not show the faces of the persons. Identification is your first hurdle, and if you can’t cross that hurdle, what you have is of no value,” presiding High Court Justice Sharon George, who tried the case, told the prosecution.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com