Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Kim Hollis today told the Magistrate’s Court that a gunman was imported into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to murder Dakeem Cheltenham last October.
Although the actual gunman remains at large, prosecutors believe the man who has been charged – Kalik Aaron, was the gunman’s getaway driver, as well as the mastermind behind the attempted murder of Cheltenham.
The 20-year-old accused is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
It is reported that, shortly before 5am on October 29 last year, Cheltenham was at Da Basement night club at UP’s Cineplex in Road Town, where a Halloween party had just ended.
He walked across the road to urinate when a lone gunman followed and fired several shots at him.
The prosecution alleged that the gunman then fled.
“He and others with him thought that Dakeem Cheltenham was dead. Fortunately he was not,” DPP Hollis told the court, adding that Cheltenham sustained five gunshot wounds.
DPP Hollis went on to tell the court that CCTV footage provided ‘compelling evidence’ to implicate the accused, Aaron.
She stated that, around minutes after 1 o’clock on the morning in question, Aaron drove a distinctive yellow pickup truck to Da Basement.
It is alleged that a CCTV captured him and four other persons exiting the said vehicle. One of the other four is believed to be the gunman, the court heard.
The court was told that, around 4:40am, Aaron and the other men where caught on CCTV loitering outside the establishment where the shooting took place.
They were ‘clearly waiting’ for Cheltenham to exit the establishment, the DPP said.
Cheltenham eventually exited about 4:51am.
About 10 seconds later, Aaron and three others ‘rushed’ to the aforementioned yellow vehicle and drove away in the direction of the Road Town Police Station, while the gunman remained behind.
The court was told that, after the gunman shot Cheltenham, he ran in the direction of the High Court which is the opposite direction to where the Aaron and the other men went.
“The gunman made a mistake because he is not from Tortola,” DPP Hollis told the court.
She said that fact is evidenced in the CCTV footage, which captured Aaron driving the said yellow vehicle back to area of the crime, and ‘frantically’ trying to locate the shooter.
CCTV footage later captured Aaron driving the vehicle in the Scotiabank area of Road Town, the DPP said.
The prosecution also alleged that the shooter was captured in that area, where he was eventually picked up in the said yellow vehicle.
The DDP further told the court: “He (Aaron) was in charge of the event that night.”
Inconsistencies in interview
The DPP further alleged that, when Aaron was interviewed by police, he lied about not being on Tortola on the night of the shooting.
“I am certain I was not here [on Tortola],” Aaron allegedly told police before he was shown a photograph of him being at Da Basement on the night in question.
That’s when Aaron reportedly changed his stance regarding his location, the court heard.
He also reportedly tried to distance himself from the other men allegedly involved in the shooting. Aaron was then shown CCTV footage of him interacting with the men at the crime scene. At that point, he reportedly told law enforcers that he merely gave the other four men a ride to the club.
As the interview progressed, Aaron eventually named some of the men he was with on the night of the shooting, the court heard.
After hearing the allegations, Magistrate Vareen Vanterpool denied bail to Aaron.
“I am concerned about the very serious nature of the offences… I am not satisfied that you are not a flight risk,” Vanterpool told the accused 20-year-old.
Aaron, who is being represented by attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels, is scheduled to return to court on October 6.
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