Brain damage and brain compression were the fatal results for 43-year-old Julio Pineda Ceasar who died after being shot twice at close range four days after Hurricane Irma struck the territory back in September 2017.
This was revealed on Wednesday when 28-year-old St Kitts native, Andraes Norford, made his first appearance for the murder charge before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo.
Norford was not made to plead because his matter is indictable and therefore triable before a judge and jury in the High Court.
The court heard that Norford was reportedly among inmates who had escaped from Her Majesty’s Prison in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricane.
On September 10, 2017, Ceasar, who operated a cash-for-gold business, was visited by an associate to conduct business.
Shortly after, three men, armed with guns and a machete stormed his private residence in East End and the associate fled the scene, the court heard.
The court also heard that the first assailant who had been identified as Norford, approached Caesar — and following a brief struggle — allegedly shot him in the head. The deceased fell face down on the floor, and the second assailant then fired a second gunshot to his body before the trio fled the scene in a green Suzuki jeep, which was owned by Caesar’s associate who had fled earlier.
The police were called, and the victim was transported to the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital where he remained until December 4, 2017, where he succumbed to the injuries.
The autopsy was later determined that the cause of death was brain damage and brain compression as a result of the close-range gunshot wound to his head.
Allegations are that — based on the description of suspects and subsequent police investigations — the accused and two other individuals were identified as those responsible for the fatal shooting.
Investigations also revealed that the accused and others were allegedly seen in the East End area moments before and after the incident.
Eyewitnesses also allegedly placed Caesar’s aforesaid associate driving his vehicle with Norford and two others. Eyewitnesses said the men allegedly stopped at a residence in East End and appeared to be looking for someone.
When they did not find the person that they were looking for, they left and were seen heading in the direction of the deceased man’s residence.
Norford was charged on suspicion of murder on January 15, 2020 and opted to remain silent during his audiovisual interview.
The names of the others involved, nor the eyewitnesses were not revealed, as it would impact the ongoing investigation, the court heard.
The court was unable to facilitate a bail hearing as the matter was not under its jurisdiction. However, the Crown said they would be objecting to bail if the matter arose at the High Court.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to March 26.
Norford is currently unrepresented in this matter and was remanded.
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