Bartica massacre star witness says not forced to testify

Star witness for the prosecution Clebert Reece said yesterday said that no one forced him to tell his story, as he continued his testimony at the trial of Dennis Williams, called ‘Anaconda,’ Mark Royden Williams, called ‘Smallie’ and Roger Simon, called ‘Goat Man,’ who have been indicted for the 2008 massacre at Bartica.

The allegation against the trio, is that on February 17, 2008, they murdered Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Constables Shane Fredericks and Ron Osborne, and Edwin Gilkes, Dexter Adrian, Irving Ferreira, Deonarine Singh, Ronald Gomes, Ashraf Khan, Abdool Yasseen, Errol Thomas, and Baldeo Singh.

Reece, 39, called ‘Chi Chi,’ a former co-accused in the murder indictments was last November sentenced to 35 years in jail after pleading guilty to 12 counts of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

Responding to questions from Prosecutor Diana Kaulesar, Reece yesterday said that now deceased gang leader “Sad Man,” who was also known as “Saddest” and “Fine Man,” had camped out with the gang, not far from the army base, the night before the deadly attack. The gang leader was Rondell Rawlins.

Dennis Williams

Reece, who said he was recruited as the captain of the boat to transport the gang, told the court that he did not know the name of the location, but it was about half a mile away from the army base, which is located at Makouria.

He said that sometime after eight on the night of the killings, the heavily armed gang headed to Bartica. Some of its members, Reece said, were outfitted in camouflage.

Apart from himself and “Fine Man,” Reece said, the other gang members who went to Bartica that night were his cousin Michael Caesar, Dennis Williams, “Chung Boy,” “Mud-Up,” “Small Man,” who is Mark Royden Williams, “Magic,” “Kussum,” who is also referred to as “Small Fren,” and “White Boy.”

Caesar, 34, called “Capone,” was last month sentenced to 60 years in jail after pleading guilty to unlawfully killing a total of 20 persons in both the Lusignan and Bartica massacres.

Mark Royden Williams

Caesar, like his older cousin, was initially indicted for 12 counts of murder in the shooting deaths of the 12 men at Bartica. He, however, also indicated his desire to plead guilty to the lesser counts of manslaughter, which was accepted by the State.

Reece said that among those dressed in camouflage clothing, was Mark Williams, who was wearing long camouflage pants with matching top, a black tope—and armed with an AK 47.

Reece, who had previously testified witnessing “Fine Man” shoot five of the 12 men dead at the stelling, was asked by the prosecutor what he was doing during that time.

He told the court that he was on the bow of the boat crying after the first of those five men were shot to the back of his head.

According to Reece, “Mud Up” and “Chung Boy” had placed the five men to lie on the ground, after which “Fine Man,” collected a gun from Mark Williams with which he shot each of the men at the back of their heads.

Roger Simon

Further questioned, the witness said that at the time the five men were being shot, Mark and Dennis Williams were both standing about two feet away.

When asked, Reece told the prosecutor that no one had forced him to tell his story. He noted that apart from relating his story to the judge and jury, he also did so during the preliminary inquiry in the Magistrates’ Court as well as to the police.

He said in 2008, he had told lawmen his story after the deadly attack.

Prosecutor Kaulesar finally asked Reece whether he “expected persons to be hurt” when he embarked on the journey to Bartica. The witness answered in the affirmative.

Under cross examination by Roger Yearwood, Mark Williams’ attorney, the witness was asked if his reason for testifying against the accused, was because he hoped that the charges against him would have been withdrawn, as was the case against Dwane Williams.

Clebert Reece

Reece answered in the negative.

Dwane Williams, called ‘Small Fren,’ is to be called as a witness in the trial. He is a former co-accused in the January 26, 2008 Lusignan massacre, in which 11 persons, including five children were killed.

Superintendent of Police Trevor Reid had previously testified that while Dwane was arrested in relation to the Bartica massacre, he was not charged.

The trial continues on Monday morning at 9, before Justice Roxane George SC, at the High Court in Georgetown, where Reece will continue to be cross-examined.

Representing Dennis Williams and Simon are attorneys Saphier Hussain and Peter Hugh respectively.

The state’s case is being presented by Kaulesar, in association with Stacy Goodings.




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