‘Big Foot’ denies being killer in South Central hotel murder

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Joseph Jagdeo.

AS the ‘South Central hotel” murder trial nears its end with an impending verdict on Tuesday, the state closed its case on Monday after presenting its two final witnesses.

Constable Miguel Charles, who is stationed at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary, and after being deemed competent in the field of photography, told the court that on November 14, 2013, while he was on duty, a request was made for a photographer to visit an alleged murder scene at 218 South Road, Lacytown.

He stated that he photographed the crime scene (Room 10) with a police-issued digital camera he had in his possession, taking 17 exposures.

An application was then made by the state for the 17 photos to be marked, tendered and admitted as evidence in the trial, after which another application was made for Constable Charles to be shown the photos. He identified same by his signature and date.

The police witness then explained each photo of the crime scene photographed.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Lawrence Harris, Constable Charles was asked about the time his services were requested at South Central hotel and he said it was about 20:30 hrs, but could not say who else were there.

The other witness, Kiana Garnette said that in 2013, she was living in Barr Street, Kitty and on November 13, 2013 about 21:30hrs, she and her friend Shantel John were going to a Chinese restaurant when they encountered the accused whom they both knew.

She identified the accused, Brian Leitch who was seated in the courtroom, as the person who asked Shantel John if she wanted a cell phone to buy and she replied in the affirmative.

The witness related that Shantel John paid the accused and she was given a cell phone after which the accused told her “Don’t answer if anyone call.”

At this point the state closed its case and in leading his defence, the accused opted to remain in the box where he gave an unsworn statement. Leitch said, “I don’t know anything about this murder. I didn’t kill anyone.”

The defence attorneys said they had no witnesses after which they made closing submissions on Monday in the Demerara High Court before Justice Sandil Kissoon and a 12-member jury.

A verdict in this matter is expected on Tuesday afternoon.

Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh testified last week and gave the cause of death as haemorrhage due to blunt trauma to the head compounded by suffocation and compression to the neck.

According to the state’s case, between November 13 and 14, 2013, the accused Brian Leitch called “Big Foot” murdered hotelier, Joseph Jagdeo called “Joey” at his own place of business, South Central hotel.

In his opening address, state prosecutor Mandel Moore told the court that between 13 and 14 of November, 2013, the accused murdered the deceased and stuffed his body under a bed.

The state is being represented by Mandel Moore and Lisa Cave while the defence attorneys are Lawrence Harris and Hewley Griffith.