Verdict looms for accused in hotelier’s murder

Joseph Jagdeo

Bryan Leitch is likely to know his fate later this afternoon when a jury retires to deliberate on the case levelled against him by the state for the murder of hotel owner Joseph Jagdeo.

At the close of the prosecution’s case yesterday, Leitch, after being called upon to lead a defence, professed his innocence, telling the court that he knows nothing about the murder.

In unsworn testimony from the prisoner’s dock, the accused declared, “I don’t know anything about any murder.”

Bryan Leitch

“I did not kill anyone.”

The allegation against him is that he murdered Jagdeo at the South Central Hotel which is located at Lot 218 South Road, Georgetown, sometime between November 13th and November 14th, 2013.

Testifying yesterday were the final two state witnesses—former Police Constable Miguel Charles and civilian witness, Keanna Garnett.

Charles recalled visiting and photographing the scene on the morning of November 14.

Among the 17 photographs which he took and were shown to the court, was that of Jagdeo’s body which was seen lying under a bed in one of the hotel rooms. The photos were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Meanwhile, in her testimony, Garnett said that she was present when the accused sold a cellphone to one of her friends, whom she identified as Shantel De Jonge.

The witness said that she and De Jonge were standing on the road when the accused, also a friend, approached and asked De Jonge if she wanted a phone to purchase.

The young woman said that her friend responded in the affirmative, and thereafter collected the cellphone, after handing Leitch $2,000.

She told the court that after the sale of the phone, the accused instructed her friend not to answer the phone if anyone called.

Justice Sandil Kissoon who is presiding over the trial, has adjourned the matter until 9 this morning, when he will sum-up the case and hand over to the jury for deliberation and the possible return of a verdict.

The trial is being heard at the Georgetown High Court.

In his testimony, Detective Sergeant Keith Conway, had previously testified to the accused admitting to killing the hotel owner, but said it was unintentional and that he was sorry for it.

According to the Detective, though Leitch had initially said he knew nothing about the killing, he subsequently told investigators that, “the morning Jagdeo come in me room and tell me to leave.”

The witness had said Leitch related that Jagdeo’s request angered him, as a result of which he held him down, stuffed and tied his mouth with a pillowcase, tied his hands together, and pushed him under the bed.

Conway said the accused then related leaving the room key on the bed, after which he took the dead man’s cellular phone before leaving.

According to the witness, the accused declared, “Me ain’t guh fuh kill he… I sorry fuh wah happen.”

The police officer said that before making the statement the accused was cautioned that he was not obligated to say anything unless he wished to do so, and that anything he said would be given in evidence.

The witness said, too, that at no time did he or anyone in his presence make any threats, nor held out any promises or inducements to the accused for him to make the statement.

Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh, who performed the autopsy on Jagdeo’s remains, had given the cause of death as haemorrhage due to blunt trauma to the head, compounded by suffocation and compression to the neck.

Former employee of the hotel Wendell Eastman had previously told the court that Leitch had been a guest of the hotel, having checked into Room 9 with a female companion.

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

The argument, he said, stemmed from the woman accusing Leitch of stealing Jagdeo’s cell phone.

It was in this room that Jagdeo’s body would later be discovered under the bed.

In his testimony, Eastman had said that while the key for that room could not initially be found, it was later located on the bed.

Representing the state are prosecutors Mandel Moore and Lisa Cave.

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

Around the Web