Fri | Apr 12, 2024
BEACHY STOUT MURDER TRIAL

Barnes’ lawyers insist no evidence linking him to Tonia’s killing

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2024 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

Defence attorneys representing Oscar Barnes on Friday reiterated that there was “absolutely” no evidence presented in the trial connecting him to Tonia McDonald’s murder, while imploring the jury to return a not-guilty verdict.

Attorney-at-law Ernest Davies, who is representing Barnes along with Vincent Wellesley, in their closing address on Friday also stressed that there was no evidence that Barnes had conspired with Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald to murder his wife. Nor was there any conspiracy with the contract killer, Denvalyn ‘Bubbla’ Minott.

Barnes, who is accused of killing the 32-year-old businesswoman, is on trial for her murder along with McDonald.

The men were charged in connection with the July 20, 2020 murder, after Tonia’s partially burnt body was found on a deserted road in Sherwood Forest in Portland. Her throat was slashed and the body had nine other knife wounds.

Minott, who is serving 19 years in prison for his role in her murder, had testified that McDonald hired him to kill his wife for $3 million, but that he passed off the deadly job to Barnes.

Minott testified that he and Barnes made about four unsuccessful trips to Tonia’s house to kill her before he lured her to the area where she was murdered, under the pretence that he had secured two guns that she was seeking to purchase.

Tonia reportedly wanted to purchase a gun to avenge her father’s death, and her husband reportedly introduced her to Minott for his assistance.

SECRET RECORDING

The court also heard, during conversations between McDonald and Minott, which he had secretly recorded, that the businessman had advised his wife to purchase two guns and had given her $500,000.

But arguing that his client did not know either man and that there was no evidence of conversation between him and either of the men, the attorney rubbished Minott’s claim that Barnes was the killer.

“The only thing before you is Bubbla. There is no independent evidence, no DNA. They took Barnes’ cell phone and they found nothing. His car was searched and processed and [nothing] was found. They searched his house and nothing was found,” Davis highlighted.

Davis submitted that Minott’s story about subcontracting Barnes was simply a fabrication.

Likewise was the story about Tonia purchasing guns.

“Mrs McDonald is a successful businesswoman. She would not need to go to Barnes to buy a gun. She could easily apply for a registered gun,” Davis said.

He told the jury that the case rests solely on Minott’s evidence, which is a matter of credibility and identification.

Davis also described the caution statement, which was reportedly given by Barnes, implicating himself, as a “concoction” by the chief investigator. In that statement, Barnes, among other things, said he knew of the murder plot and could have saved Tonia.

Before resting his case, the attorney also urged the jury to bear in mind that Minott, although fingering Barnes as the killer and as the person with whom he had made several trips to kill Tonia, did not provide the police with a description of Barnes.

According to Davis, the reason why Minott was unable to do so was simply because he did not know him.

Additionally, he highlighted that there was no phone data information linking his client to the crime or a conspiracy.

In the meantime, presiding judge Justice Chester Stamp will commence summation when the matter resumes on Tuesday.

Attorneys-at-law Christopher Townsend, Courtney Rowe, John Jacobs, Earl Hamilton and his son, Jon-Paul, are representing Beachy Stout.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com