The New Montrose man who was tried in connection with the Aug. 2, 2020 murder of a fellow villager was on Tuesday acquitted when the jury returned a not guilty verdict.
However, unlike the three other occasions when he was freed of murder, Devon “Chiefman” Charles, 38, did not walk out of the court a free man.
While Charles was acquitted of murder, the jury found him guilty of a related gun possession charge.
Charles was found not guilty of the charge that on Aug. 2, 2020, at Block 2000, Old Montrose, he murdered Kimron Hannaway, 28, aka “Warlord” and “Dog Man”. The jury, however, returned a guilty verdict on the charge that Charles had a firearm in his possession with intent to commit an offence, to wit murder.
The Crown was represented by Tamika Mc Kenzie-Da Silva, an assistant director of public prosecution, and crown counsel Rose-Ann Richardson and Maria Jackson-Richards.
Duane Daniel represented Charles.
The jury deliberated for two hours and 51 minutes before returning their verdicts, which resulted in some informal debate among the lawyers after the adjournment of the court sitting.
The question that the lawyers sought to reconcile was how could a person be found not guilty of murder committed by use of a firearm but guilty of possession of said firearm, with intent to commit the same murder that the jury found the person not guilty of committing.
Justice Brian Cottle, who presided, had addressed this question with defence counsel after the jury had retired to consider its verdict.
The judge told the lawyer that it was very possible for a jury to acquit on the murder charge and convict on the firearm possession charge.
He noted that a not-guilty verdict does not mean that someone did not commit an offence but that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.
No firearm was recovered in connection with Hannaway’s death and Charles does not have a licence to hold a firearm or ammunition.
As regards sentencing, Daniel said that he would not be requiring a social inquiry report.
The sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 19.
Charles was first charged with murder in 2008.
He was among seven men charged with murder in connection with the death of Atiba “Crimo” Waldron, who was shot and killed at the petrol station in Pembroke.
Charles and three of his co-accused were freed of the charge and another died of a heart attack. In November 2012, Roland Gumbs, of Arnos Vale, was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter in connection with Waldron’s death.
Then, in November 2016, Charles was charged with murder in connection with the Sept. 15, 2015 shooting death of Andre “Judge” Garraway/Bowens, who died after being shot in the head and about the body.
Charles was also charged in connection with the July 23, 2015 murder of Andre “Sweat” Chewitt/Durham, 39, who was shot and killed outside his Upper New Montrose home around 8 p.m.
Reports were that there were two assailants who fled the scene on foot after and police recovered spent shells from different calibres of firearm.
In March 2017, then Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams discontinued murder charges against Charles, in connection with the death of Garraway/Bowens and Chewitt/Durham.
Charles had spent eight months on remand.