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Guilty as charged

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That word brought sighs of relief and half-smiles to the faces of the Burgin family on Monday at the High Court, after the man who had been charged with Jason “Dappa” Burgin’s murder was convicted.{{more}}

After nearly two hours of tense deliberations, a 12-member mixed jury returned a unanimous decision of guilty against Earl Cauldric “Herb” Edwards of Lowmans Leeward.

On hearing the verdict, Edwards maintained an almost blank expression on his face for about a minute, then tears started flowing freely from his eyes, and not even constant wiping could stop the flow.

Burgin, 34, of Lowmans Leeward, met his death around 3am on April 15 last year while attending a dance at Philo’s Disco in Questelles. The evidence led before the court stated that Burgin was partying close to the stage when Edwards walked up to him and shot him point blank in his head.

However, the lanky dreadlocked man will have to wait until the next sitting of the Criminal Assizes in June for sentencing pending a psychiatric and social enquiry report. Presiding Judge Fredrick Bruce-Lyle ordered the reports be given to defence counsel Arthur Williams on or before May 30.

After a week of intense questioning and cross-examining of witnesses by both defence and the crown, Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams said that it was strange that the defendant walked into the offices of the Criminal Investigations Department around 12 midday, just hours after Burgin was killed, with his lawyer and said he was reporting for another matter.

Turning his attention to some of the questions that were asked by Corporal 115 Bartholomew while Edwards was in custody, Williams said it was evident that the defendant was lying and was trying to mislead the police. In one of the questions, Bartholomew asked Edwards when was the last time he seen the deceased and he replied, “Me can’t remember the last time I see him.” Edwards also stated that he was never at the disco that night and couldn’t tell the last time he went there. That however conflicted with the testimony of several witnesses who said they saw the defendant on the fateful night at the Discotheque in Philo’s. When Corporal Bartholomew asked Edwards if he had shot Dappa, he replied, “I was never at the disco, I was at my sister’s home in Clare Valley that time.”

Edwards also denied living at Lowmans Leeward. A search carried out at a house in Lowmans Leeward found documents belonging to him including his driver’s license and passport. When the officers went to Clare Valley with the defendant, he pointed out someone else’s house and said he lived there. The police found his sister’s house and a search conducted found the camouflage jacket that witnesses described the defendant as wearing the same morning of the shooting.

Addressing the court, the veteran lawyer Arthur Williams submitted that the evidence given by the prosecution had many doubts that should go in favour of his client and that a verdict of not guilty should be returned. Williams also noted that the only reason Edwards went to C.I.D was in relation to another matter and that he never knew anything about Dappa’s murder. The attorney told the court that Burgin was picked up for questioning but later released in the matter of the disappearance of Edward’s nephew “Boyin”. “Is because they pick up Dappa for Boyin’s disappearance and because Herb related to him, that is why you think he killed Dappa?” Williams asked rhetorically. (KW)

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