Accused had been seen with murdered hotelier’s cell phone

-court hears

Joseph Jagdeo

At the trial of Bryan Leitch for the murder of Joseph Jagdeo who owned the South Central Hotel, the court was told that the accused had been seen with the dead man’s cellular phone.

The charge against Leitch, called ‘Big Foot,’ is that he murdered Jagdeo between November 13th and November 14th, 2013 at the hotel which is located on South Road, Georgetown.

Testifying yesterday was former live-in employee of the hotel, Wendell Eastman, who said that the accused was a guest of the hotel from November 12 and had occupied room 9 with a female.

Owing to an argument with the woman, Eastman said he was instructed by the proprietor to give Leitch the keys to room 10, as the woman no longer wanted him staying with her.

On the morning of November 13, the witness said that he was sitting on the bottom flat of the hotel when the accused passed, said good morning, and related that he had knocked on Jagdeo’s door but got no answer.

Eastman said that, that was the last he had seen of the accused who had not checked-out from the hotel.

A short while before this encounter with the accused, Eastman said that another employee, whom he identified as ‘Trevor,’ reported for duty and went upstairs. He said the man returned about 10 minutes later, but could not say where exactly he went nor what he did.

Bryan Leitch

Sometime later that day, the witness said he went upstairs and called out for his boss but got no response, and so he went up to the third floor to get some sleep. After waking up about 3pm, he said he went back down stairs and spoke with the bartender who by that time had arrived for work.

According the Eastman he then went to bed about midnight and after waking the next morning, noticed Jagdeo’s pet cat behaving strangely—crying and scratching her paw against the door of room 10.

As a result, he said he climbed onto a shed and peeked into the room through a window where he saw the room key on the bed, which he said he retrieved after attaching a hook to a long piece of PVC pipe.

Thereafter, the witness said he gave the key to Patrick Mason, another employee, who then opened the room. According to Eastman, the cat then rushed into the room, and he, from the passageway, looked under the bed where he saw his boss’ body.

Mason corroborated this account by Eastman.

Under cross-examination from defence attorney Lawrence Harris, the witness agreed that he did not know how Jagdeo met his demise nor did he see the accused inflict any injury on the deceased.

He said he did not see Trevor with “anything in his hands,” when he returned downstairs.

The witness disagreed with counsel’s suggestion that he was making up stories.

Former bartender Paula Hollingsworth, who also testified yesterday, recalled making several calls to her boss’ cell phone after reporting for duty on the afternoon of November 13.

She said that the calls went unanswered, but after persisting heard a voice on the other end ask, “Are you a spy?”

This she said, was after she had earlier that said day gotten a brief “hello,” from a male voice which she said did not sound like that of Jagdeo’s.

The woman said she last saw her boss alive, whom she described as being in good health, when she left work on November 12.

Responding to questions from the jury, the witness said she did not hear any background or strange noises on that call.

Also testifying was Police Lance Corporal Marlyn Rodney who recalled receiving certain information as a result of which she visited a residence at Lot 185 Pike Street, Kitty.

There, she said she contacted 16-year-old Felicia Williams who related that she had gotten a cell phone containing SIM# 677-5348 from the accused.

Fay Carter, had earlier testified that she had bought the cell phone for Jagdeo on November 11, and it was assigned that very number.

The woman said that her now deceased husband, who also worked for Jagdeo, had asked her to purchase the phone on Jagdeo’s behalf as they did not have their identification cards.

The trial continues this morning at 9 before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the High Court in Georgetown.

Leitch is being represented by Harris, in association with attorney Hewley Griffith.

Meanwhile, the state’s case is being led by Prosecutor Mandel Moore, in association with state counsel Lisa Cave.

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