Beresford Williams, 38, of Diamonds village, has been found not guilty of the Dec. 24, 2017 murder of fellow villager Andel Muckett.
A 12-member jury composed of three males and nine females deliberated for just about two hours on Monday before returning the not guilty verdict at High Court No. 1, with Justice Brian Cottle presiding.
Williams was represented by Counsel Charmaine Walters, along with Carl Williams, as Walters was called to the bar only four years ago and is not allowed to defend a murder accused on her own.
Maria Jackson-Richards appeared for the crown.
Before the trial started, Walters raised the issue of the admissibility of the dying declaration that Muckett gave to two police officers, Assistant Commissioner of Police Leonard Fergus and Constable Jeremy Joseph.
Justice Cottle ruled that there was circumstantial evidence and he would allow the dying declaration into evidence.
The prosecution’s case was also that Gesjil Letteen, Muckett’s girlfriend, had claimed that she had seen the accused fire the fatal shots.
But the defence argued that Letteen had also placed one Antoine on the scene.
However, Antoine said it was impossible for him to see who the killer was as the assailant was wearing a mask. He further said that even though there was light in the area, the lighting was not good enough to say who the assailant was.
Letteen said in her original statement that the person was not wearing a mask. However, she recanted her statement and said the person was wearing a mask and she thought the person was Beresford Williams.
When she recanted her statement, she did not say she was threatened.
But during the trial, Letteen said she was threatened by the accused from prison and that she wanted to clear her name to say she lied because she was threatened
The case for the defence was that the defendant had an alibi.
Muckett died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve 2017, about three hours after being shot in his head and left leg in Diamonds.
The murder charge was laid two days after lawyer Grant Connell handed Williams to police custody after they issued a wanted poster for him.
Williams made his initial appearance in court on Jan. 2, 2018, in connection with the charge and remained in custody until he was found not guilty on Monday.
Muckett’s death — the 41st homicide in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for 2017 — came three months after he made national headlines in connection with the Sept. 4, 2017 chopping of Letteen, of Diamonds, originally of Chapmans, who presented him as a routine abuser.
Letteen, then 33, who was denied a secondary school education by her father when she passed the requisite examination, was beaten with a cutlass in San Souci as she held a 2-month-old in her arms.
However, when the charges against Muckett came up for hearing at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on Sept. 26, 2017, Letteen told the court that she no longer wished to proceed with the case against Muckett.