A man who had two rape charges before the court was shot and killed at his home in Kingstown Park on the weekend.
Police said that the unemployed man, Cassion “Cuz” Stapleton, 33, was sitting at a shed near his home when some unknown assailant(s) shot him on Saturday.
Stapleton reportedly received several gunshot wounds to his body and was pronounced dead at the scene by the district medical officer.
The motive surrounding the shooting death of Stapleton is unknown at the moment, police said in a statement on Monday.
Stapleton was killed five days before he was slated to appear before the Family Court for a preliminary inquiry into charges related to his alleged abduction and rape of a 14-year-old girl in February 2021.
In October 2018, police charged Stapleton with the rape of a 19-year-old secretary of Ottley Hall, an offence he allegedly committed on Oct. 18 that year. He was awaiting his high court trial in connection with that allegation.
In late February 2021, Stapleton turned himself in to police after a 14-year-old girl told detectives that he abducted her at gunpoint in North Leeward on Feb. 21, 2021, took her to a house in Central Kingstown, and raped her before dropping her off along the roadside in Kingstown the following day.
Stapleton, a distant relative of the teen, is said to have also told her that she must not abort “my baby”, a suggestion that he wanted to impregnate the child.
He also threatened to kill her if she revealed his identity, the girl told investigators.
iWitness News was reliably informed that Stapleton is alleged to have forced the girl into a car as she was walking along the street in a North Leeward village, where she had gone to visit relatives.
A resident of the community saw the interaction between the teen and the vehicle, thought it somewhat strange and made a note of the registration number.
After allegedly pointing the gun at the child and ordering her into the vehicle, Stapleton is said to have driven to a Central Kingstown village, where he assaulted her.
iWitness News was told that as the vehicle was passing the South Leeward village where the girl lives with her parents, the man ordered her to keep low in the vehicle in case her parents were at the roadside.
Stapleton is alleged to have thrown away the teen’s handheld device.
At the house, he is said to have offered the teen food, but she refused, saying that he mother would feed her when she goes home.
On hearing this response, Stapleton is alleged to have asked the teen how she was so sure that she was going back home.
In the meantime, as the child’s parents and the relatives she had gone to visit tried to locate her, word emerged that the girl had been seen getting into the vehicle.
Another of the girl’s relatives who recognised the registration number of the vehicle is said to have contacted Stapleton, who had been seen in the vehicle earlier that day.
A source with knowledge of the case told iWitness News that Stapleton is said to have denied seeing the teen.
However, the teen’s relative who has been assisting in trying to locate her is said to have threatened to “roll” on Stapleton.
Stapleton is alleged to have thrown away the girl’s underwear and gave her an ill-fitting one and dropped her off in Kingstown on Feb. 22, 2021.
The teen stopped a passer-by and told the stranger what had happened, and the passer-by took her to the Criminal Investigation Department in Kingstown, where detectives launched an investigation.
iWitness News was reliably informed that the teen was able to provide the police with vital information about the location to which she had been taken and certain items there.
Our sources say that police found those same items that the teen described when they went to the house to conduct a search after the alleged perpetrator turned himself in.
When the matter was called up at the Family Court yesterday (Thursday), the court was informed that Stapleton was dead and that a death certificate would be presented as part of the formalities, a source with knowledge of the in-camera hearing told iWitness News.
This resulted in the charges being dismissed.
iWitness News understands that the charges in the High Court matter would be treated similarly when they come up for hearing.
Police said that a post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out on Stapleton’s body to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Investigators are asking people with information that can assist with the investigation to telephone 1784-457-1211, 1784-456-1810 or any police station in the country.
Alternatively, they can speak with any police officer with whom they are comfortable.
“All information will be dealt with confidentially. Investigations into the incident are ongoing,” police said.