THE trial of death row inmate, Mark Royden Williams, also known as Mark Durant and “Smallie” for the killing of two men during an armed robbery at a bar on Agriculture Road, Triumph, East Coast Demerara, in 2007, commenced on Monday morning.
Williams was jointly charged with Michael Caesar for the murders of Fazil Hakim called “Boyie” of Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara and Rajesh Singh called “Rabbit” of Martyr’s Ville, East Coast Demerara at a liquor bar at Lot 82, Agriculture Road, Triumph, East Coast Demerara in December 2007.
According to reports, on December 16, 2007 around 21:00 hours, Hakim and Singh, along with another man, were consuming alcohol at a bar on Agriculture Road when the bar was stormed by armed men who held them at gun point. The bandits went into the bar and robbed the owner and another man before making good their escape. During the robbery they discharged several rounds, shooting Hakim and Singh.
Appearing before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Demerara High Court on Monday, Williams pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. He is represented by Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes while the State is represented by prosecutor Lisa Cave. The matter was adjourned to Wednesday.
Michael Caesar called “Capone” was initially charged with the capital offence of murder pertaining to the same matter; however, he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter on July 2, 2020 when he appeared before Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall at the Demerara High Court.
Caesar was also charged with two counts of armed robbery committed on Juman and Ravindra Mookram in relation to the same incident, to which he also pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 36 years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts of manslaughter, and 30 years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts of robbery under-arms.
In February 2017, Williams was sentenced to death when a jury found him guilty of eight counts of murder in relation to the 2008 Bartica massacre which saw a dozen persons, including three police officers, shot dead. He had since appealed his conviction.
In 2013, Williams was acquitted after a 12-member jury found him not guilty of the charges against him in relation to the 2008 Lusignan massacre, which saw the murders of 11 persons, including five children. The matter was appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which in 2018 affirmed the acquittal of Williams.
He was also acquitted in 2019, after a 12-member jury found him not guilty of the 2007 murder of Cove and John, East Coast Demerara resident, Kumar Singh, also known as “Mango Man”.
Williams had escaped from the Georgetown Prison in July 2017 during a riot, which it is believed that he was the mastermind behind. He was nabbed three months later at Weldaad, West Coast Berbice on October 9, 2017 while travelling in a public mini bus.