The State opened its case against the 12 men accused of the 2006 murder of then Xtra Food chief executive officer Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
Following is the opening address of Lead Prosecutor Israel Khan SC in the trial which began yesterday at the Port of Spain High Court
"My name is Khan: And I am not a terrorist."
This excerpt was extrapolated from the soundtrack of the Bollywood blockbuster movie: "My Name is Khan" starring India's heart-throb Shah Ruk Khan.I sincerely hope that at least one juror hearing this case would have seen this movie. It was embraced by the entire subcontinent of India and the East Indian diaspora and a few others in Trinidad and Tobago. It tells a moving story of a mother's milk of human kindness and the goodness of humanity.
The case which will unfold before you in this court is the flipside of the movie "My Name is Khan". It is not a case of a mother's milk of human kindness and the goodness of humanity. It is the exact opposite.
Hence it is necessary, and incumbent upon me as a Minister of Justice, to warn and caution, that upon bearing the evidence in this matter you must not allow sympathy for the deceased to influence your approach to the evidence. Upon hearing the evidence you must hold no animosity, illwill, dislike or hatred for the accused. You must be clinical, dispassionate and objective in your approach the evidence and the assessment of the witnesses in this case: especially the evidence of the key prosecution's witness, one Keon Gloster.
In digesting and analysing the evidence as the case unfolds before you, you must constantly bear in mind that all the accused men sitting in the dock are presumed to be innocent and the onus is upon the prosecution to prove that they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt: to prove their guilt, the prosecution must produce evidence against these men which is cogent, compelling, convincing and credible.
Hence, you will hear evidence that Mrs. Vindra Naipaui-Coolman was kidnapped for ransom from the driveway of her Lange Park, Chaguanas home on the 19th of December 2006 around 8:15 to 8:30 p.m. The very next morning at around 5 a.m. a ransom of$ 122,000 was paid for her release - but she was not released.
You will hear further evidence that about 9 days after her kidnapping that was about 3 days after Christmas 2006, Mrs. Vindra Naipaul- Coolman was sitting on a pooltable in an unfmished red-brick house located on a hill at La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin, late evening time.
Her hands and feet were bound-up with silver grey duct tape. Her mouth was also bound-up with this duct tape. Blood was running down her left "foot", according to the "eye see" witness Keon Gloster and she was crying.
Accused No.8 Lyndon James also called "Iron", armed with a 9mm. black gun was demanding money from her. He was saying to her that "he was getting f......fed up. "Come and carry we for the money." He was saying this in the presence of all the other accused men who are sitting in the dock. Mrs. Vindra Naipaull-Coolman with her feet, hands and mouth all bound-up with silver grey duct tape just sat on that pool table crying.
Lyndon James also called "Iron" shot Mrs. Vindra Naipaul Coolman in her chest from point blank range with the 9mm black gun. She fell back on the pool table.
Accused No. 1Shevon Peters also called Buffy, Accused No. 3 Marlon Trimmingham also called "Madman" and a man called "Raphael" put on whitish rubber gloves. It should be noted that "Raphael" is not amongst the accused men today, he died in prison awaiting trial on this very matter.
Thereupon, Accused No. I, Shevon Peters also called "Buffy", Accused No.3 Marlon Trimmingham also called "Madman" and the man called "Raphael" took a red and white power saw used for cutting meat and proceeded in taking turns in cutting up Mrs. Vindra Naipaui- Coolman.
They cut off her legs up to her belly. They cut off both arms from the shoulders. They cut off her head. They cut up her belly and her chest.
Her body parts were placed into black garbage bags for disposal. All this was done in the presence of all the men who now sit in the Dock. The prosecution is unable to say whether Mrs. Vindra Naipaul Coolman was actually dead or alive when she was dismembered.
What I can say on her behalf, whether she was dead or alive, the ancient scripture from the Holy Scrolls, "The Dhammapada" applied to her in the agonizing conditions she was placed in due to no fault of her own.
"...there is no pain like this body; there is no eternal happiness Higher than peaceful rest. Extrapolated from the book: No Pain Like This Body by deceased Trinidadian Harold Sonny Ladoo. Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was a devout Hindu who was married to a Muslim, Mr Rennie Coolman, so I also say 'Insha Allah'.
This is not a case of a mother's milk of human kindness and the goodness of humanity.
But you must give all the accused men a fair trial and arrive at verdicts in accordance with the evidence and the oaths you have taken.
End of Prelude
Formal Opening Address
May it please you my Lord, Mister Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the common panel of jurors and alternates.
My name is not Shah Ruk Khan of India. It is Israel B. Khan of Trinidad and Tobago: a Trini to the bone. I am a fourth generation descendant of the East Indian diaspora. I am an advocate attorney at law. My role at the criminal assizes is usually that of a defence attorney, but today I humbly stand before You as the lead prosecutor having the onerous responsibility for the conduct of the case for the Prosecution.
And appearing with me on behalf of the State in order of seniority, are my esteemed and learned friends Mr. Gilbert Conrad Peterson S.C. and Ms. Dana Saroop Seetahal S.C. Miss Joy Balkaran, senior state attorney attached to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is with us as an advocate attorney and we are all instructed by a young vibrant lawyer Miss Kelly Thompson who is also attached to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The accused men are represented in toto by approximately 21 attorneys who practice at the Criminal Bar. The advocates for the defence are all competent and experienced gladiators in the criminal arena at the Assizes.
The respective appearances as advocates and instructing attorneys have been announced but it will be remiss of me if I do not officially, for the records and posterity, recognize and acknowledge the appearance of Mr. Joseph Pantor qua advocate on the side of the defence team of lawyers. He is the most experienced advocate in this matter.
Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, alternates, I respectfully crave your indulgence to touch upon the respective roles of the prosecuting attorneys and defence attorneys before I zero into the evidence the State will lead in this matter.
It is important for you to appreciate and understand that all the attorneys, that is, both prosecuting and defence attorneys are all pursuing the same goal. And that is to assist you in arriving at the truth.
Of course, as far as the prosecution is concerned, we will be asking you, based on the evidence, to arrive at verdicts of guilty against all these men for unlawful homicide, murder or manslaughter, depending on how you view each individual's participation in this matter. On the other hand, the defence attorneys will submit, I surmise, that you should arrive at verdicts of not guilty based on the totality of the evidence.
Having said that, I must emphasise it is you and you alone who must decide where the truth lies in this case. Not the lawyers, and I say it with the greatest respect, not even the learned trial Judge.
And in arriving at your verdicts you must be objective and dispassionate and do justice to all, the deceased, her loved ones and the accused men. You must not allow race, class or creed to cloud your judgment. In this country every race, class and creed has an equal place. Having said that, let me tell you what this case is all a bout.
Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the COMMON PANEL OF JURORS and alternates, the case for the prosecution is based on the concept which lawyers loosely refer to as the "felony-murder rule." It is now know and accepted as the "arrestable offence murder rule."
It simply means that if a killing occurs during the commission of an arrestable offence involving violence, all those who participated in the arrestable offence are guilty of unlawful homicide, either murder or manslaughter, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the participation of the particular accused.
This case is grounded against the accused men in the kidnapping of the deceased Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman for ransom and in executing the kidnapping for ransom, attempts to extract further payments for her release were being made and when the payments were not forthcoming, she was deliberately executed by Accused No. 8 Lyndon James also called "Iron".
But who was Mrs. Vindra Naipaui-Coolman ?
It is necessary for the State to prove that the woman, Mrs. Naipaul-Coolman who was kidnapped on the 19th December 2006 from the driveway of her home at Radaxi Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas was the same woman who was shot on her chest from point blank range by Accused No. 8 Lyndon James also called "Iron".
So, Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, you need to know a little bit about this woman, Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman so that you can make the necessary connecting with the woman who was kidnapped and the woman who was killed and her body dismembered.
You will hear evidence from which you can find the following facts.
i)Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was a short East Indian woman with black hair.
ii) She was employed at her family supermarket, Xtra Foods Supermarket, located at Grand Bazaar. She was the Chief Executive Officer at this Supermarket.
iii) On the day she was kidnapped she was wearing a long khaki pants, and a % sleeve blue Indian cotton top with lacing just to the top of the blouse.
iv) On that day she had with her 2 cell phones. A b-mobile - no. 704-3999 and a Digicell No. 351-5139. Her cell phone was used by a particular male person to make contact with her relatives for ransom payments.
v) In executing the kidnapping the bandits fired shots. Blood was seen at the crime scene at Lange Park. Chaguanas. You may find as a fact that she was shot.
You will hear further evidence from the key prosecution witness. For example, the woman sitting on the pool table was bleeding before she was shot by Accused No. 8 Lyndon James also called Iron. The prosecution will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs.Vindra Naipaul-Coolman who was shot and kidnapped on the 19th December 2006 from the driveway of her home at Lange Park, Chaguanas was the same woman who was shot to death about 3 days after Christmas 2006 while sitting on a pool table in an unfurnished red brick house at la Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin. D.N.A. evidence found at the red brick house will cement the fact that Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, the kidnapped victim was the same woman who was shot to death by accused No.8.
Now, who are these men who are charged with the murder of Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman ? It is important that you know who exactly these men are. And this is important because you will then understand the circumstances as to how this kidnapping and killing could have taken place on that fateful day at the unfinished red brick house at la Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin. And how the men who cut off her legs, arms, head and abdomen and chest could have done that without any protestation coming from the rest who stood by lending support. And how they could have carted off her body parts for disposal. I want you at this stage to note that the Accused No. 11, Allan Martins also called "Scanny" just stood by a door looking on and saying nothing when Accused No.8, Lyndon James was saying that he was getting f...... fed up. Come and carry we for the money. He did and said nothing when Lyndon James shot Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman. While her body was being dismembered he just stood by that door
watching on. When her body parts were being placed in garbage bags, he just stood saying and doing nothing. However, when the men picked up the garbage bags to cart off her body, he simply left the unpainted red brick house. He jumped into his car and drove away. All the other men who are sitting in the dock assisted with the disposal of the body parts.
The men sitting in the dock are not a pick up side, selected at random to play a small goal football game. They are a brotherhood, so much so that some of them are related by blood. As a matter of fact, tvvo of the men came into this world from their mother's womb as twin brothers.
You will hear evidence of the following:
i) Accused No. 1, Shevon Peters also calledBuffy, and Accused No.10, Devon Peters also called "Black Boy" are twin brothers. Accused No. ll, Anthony Gloster also called Anthony Peters is the big brother of the twins -Shevon Peters and Devon Peters.
ii) Accused No.3, Marlon Trimmingham, also called "Madman" and Accused No.4, Earl Trimmingham also called "BoBo" are brothers.
iii) Accused No 2, Keida Garcia and Accused No. 12 Jamille Garcia are brothers. Jamell Garcia told Snr. Supt. Travajo in an interview on the 9th May 2007: "Raphe} Williams is meh brother-in-law ah does deal with he sister." You heard about Raphel 's role in this murder of Mrs. Naipaul. He is the person who died in the remand prison while awaiting trial of this matter. He had assisted No. 1 and No. 3 in cutting up Vindra's body.
iv) Accused No. 7, Joel Fraser also called Ninja is the cousin to Accused No. 1, Sheldon Peters, Accused No. 10, Devon Peters and Accused No. 11, Anthony Peters.
v) Joel Fraser at the time of the killing lived at the home of the key prosecution witness Keon Gloster.
vi) Keon Gloster, the key prosecution witness, is the cousin to Accused No. 1, 10, 11 and 7.
vii) The accused No. 9 Allan Martins also called Scanny and accused No. 1 Shevon Peters are very, very close friends. At one time Allan Martins had a sexual relationship with Shevon Peters' sister. Both Allan Martins and Shevon Peters are so close that the key prosepution witness, Keon Gloster would describe them as real partners and Shevon Peters himself would admit to the police in an interview that he and Allan Martins are so close that Allan Martins would allow him to take Allan Martins' wife and children to the mall to do their shopping.. As a matter of fact, Shevon Peters told the police in that interview that he would do anything for Allan Martins. Members of the Jury, you should note at the time of this kidnapping/murder that Shevon Peters was a teenager, 19 years old and Allan Martins 15 years older than him. Allan Martins was 34 years of age. It must be noted, and you will hear evidence from Martin's statement that he is educated and he is not a hand-to mouth man. When he was arrested, he had in his possession 6 cell phones.
Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the Common Panel of jurors and alternates, the prosecution will ask you to find as a fact that the men sitting in the dock belong to a close knit group.
Now, onto a synopsis of the evidence the prosecution will adduce to prove beyond all reasonable doubts that all the accused men are guilty of unlawful homicide. The prosecution is relying on seventy-three (73) witnesses to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused are all guilty. Sixty-five (65) of the witnesses are police officers and eight (8) are civilians. The possibility exists that two other civilian witnesses may be called.
Mister Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the common panel of jurors and alternates you will hear evidence from three witnesses who will testify before you as to how Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped from the driveway of her home at Lange Park, Chaguanas.
The three witnesses are: Risha Ali, the daughter of Mrs. Naipaul- Coolman; the live-in housekeeper Rasheedan Yacoob and Rennie Coolman, the deceased's husband.
Risha Ali will tell you that on the 19th of December 2006 she and her three children were living at 742 Radix Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas with her mother Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, and her stepfather Mr. Rennie Coolman. Rasheedan Yacoob was a live-in housekeeper.
The house is a two-story house. It was completely fenced with a remote control gate. It was also burglar-proofed with wrought -iron. She will tell you that around 8:30 p.m. on that date (19th December 2006) she was upstairs in her bedroom which is located in the front part of the house. Two of her children were with her. Around 8:30 p.m. she noticed lights approaching into the driveway which would indicate that her mother, Mrs. Naipaul-Coolman was approaching. She did not get up but she heard "a loud noise". It sounded as if her mother had hit something in the yard, she surmised that it was one of the children's bicycles. After that she heard arguing/yelling.
Her windows were closed so she was not hearing exactly what was being said, so she decided to look out the window to see what was going on. Risha Ali will tell you that the lights on the gateposts at the entrance of the driveway were on. Streetlights at the front of the property were on and lights from the neighbour's property were on. She saw a gold coloured car slanted behind her mother's vehicle PCB 2325. She also observed three men who were fully clothed in long clothing. She could see no part of their skin and their faces were covered with masks. There were holes in the masks by their eyes. She was about 19 feet away looking on.
One man was standing directly at the driver's window of the car. Another was standing at the back right hand side of the vehicle, while another was walking at the back of the vehicle, now going to the left hand side of the vehicle.
The man at her mother's window was banging on the glass with a gun. He was shouting and yelling. The three men had guns in their hands. They were banging on her mother's vehicle while the shouting was taking place. This went on for a while. Then she heard gun shots. One of her sons woke up and she moved form the window to take him up. She then looked back out the window and she saw her mother standing in front of the doorway of her car and the man hit her with the gun on her cheek and her mother's head went backwards. At that stage she left her room and rushed to her mother's room holding onto her child to use the phone to call the police.
She made several attempts to call the police without success and she called her boyfriend, one Roger Ramhit who is a police. She told him something. By the time she got back to the window and look out, the men had left. She did not see the gold coloured motor car nor her mother. She never saw her mother again. She surmised that the entire incident would have taken 5-7 minutes. At the time of the incident on the 19th December 2006, her mother was dressed with long khaki pants, and a three-quarter sleeve blue Indian cotton top.
Rasheedan Yacoob She will testify that she lives in Calcutta Settlement- not in India but in Trinidad. Yes, there is a place named "Calcutta" in Trinidad. It is in Freeport, Chaguanas.
She will tell you that on the 19th December 2006, her status at the Coolman residence was that of a live-in maid- a housekeeper. At that time she had been employed with Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman for 19 years and she did everything for the household. In her own words, she did (i) cooking (ii) washing (iii) minding babies (iv) cleaning house. Everything. She will tell you that she saw Mrs. Coolman on the morning of the 19th December 2006 before she left for work at the Xtra Food Supermarket, Grand Bazaar. At the time Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was dressed in "a baby blue top and khaki pants".
She will tell you that around 8:15p.m. or thereabout she was in the living room watching television while Mr. Rennie Coolman was at the dining table having his dinner.
She heard Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman's vehicle coming into the driveway,so she got up to open the exit/entrance wrought iron burglar proofed gate which faces the side of the driveway. When she went to that gate of the house she saw a tall man standing by the driveway entrance gate with a gun. At that time she was about 25 feet away from the man.
She was standing inside the house in front of the wrought-iron burglar proofed gate which was locked but the wooden door immediately in front of the said gate was opened. The tall man with the gun whom she saw by the entrance driveway gate turned in her direction and she screamed and ran further inside the house and said something to Mr. Rennie Coolman. She started to hear gun shots. That was the last time she saw Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
Rennie Coolman will testify that the deceased Mrs. Vindra Naipaul Coolman was his wife and he resided with her, her daughter Rishma Ali and her three children at 742 Radix Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas. Rasheedan Yacoob was a live-in maid at his residence.
His wife was employed as the Chief Executive Officer at Xtra Foods Supermarket, Grand Bazaar. On 19th December 2006 he was employed at the Point Lisas Campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
He will tell you that on the 19th day ofDecember 2006 around 8:30 p.m. he was having his dinner when he heard the front gate, a remote- controlled iron gate opening. He also heard the vehicle which his wife drove coming into the driveway. That vehicle, a Kia Sportage, PCB 2355 belonged to him and he was familiar with the sound of the vehicle. He spoke to "Rasheedan Yacoob (the maid) and she went towards the wrought-iron burglar proofed exit/entrance gate. A few seconds after that the maid, Rasheedan Yacoob cried out "No, no". he went towards the gate where the maid was standing and looked towards the driveway and he saw a man wearing a black ski mask which completely covered his head. The man at that time was walking towards the front door of Vindra's car. He was about 10 feet away from the man and when the person looked in his direction, he ran into the dining room area with the maid, Rasheedan Yacoob. He then heard his wife screamed out. He was very frightened. He heard gunshots, about 3 rapid shots, while he was going towards the dining area. He heard other shots while he and the maid were in the dining area.
You will hear the details of how the police were contacted and within 15 to 20 minutes, they arrived at his home. Mr. Rennie Coohnan never saw his wife again. Mr. Coolman will tell you of his observations at the kidnapping scene.
But you will hear the meticulous details as to the processing of the locus in quo (crime scene) of the kidnapping.
There were three bullet holes in the rear window on the passenger side of Vindra's car. The window on the driver's side was completely smashed in and the driver's door was opened. There was also blood on the gap of the driveway towards the rear of the vehicle on the driver's side. And a denture and a pair of glasses belonging to Vindra on the ground in the pool of blood. Bullet casings were on the ground.
Other details will be given by Rennie Coolman of the demands for ransom payments and the police recording of the said demands. It was pre- arranged that Ryan Naipaul would pretend to be Rennie Coohnan and thus he would talk to the person who was demanding ransom payments.
You will hear evidence that on the 19 December 2006 around 11:00 p.m. a mere 2 hours after the kidnapping, several calls were made to cell phone no. 680-2666 in which a distinct male voice asked: "How much money do you have ?" and Anand Naipaul, brother of Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, pretending to be Rennie Coolman said "I have a hundred and twenty-two thousand dollars ($122,000.00). Later that morning, the same distinct male voice asked via phone "How far you coming from?" and again Anand Naipaul pretending that he was Rennie Coolman said "I am coming from the mall". The said male voice replied "I will call back."
Early in the morning of 20th December 2006 the voice called back. It said: "Leave now with the money, and go to the U.W.I. on the highway, and he added that he wanted a cell phone no. to contact the person who was bringing the money, and the make, registration number and colour of the vehicle he would be coming in. All these demands were met.
It is of interest to note that you will hear evidence from Rennie Coolman that on the night of December 24th around 9 p.m. a call was made with Vindra's cell phone, the B mobile No. 704-3999 which was fed into the police recording system set up at Rennie Coolman's home. The caller, a distinct male voice, wanted to speak to Vindra's brother, one Anand to negotiate further ransom payments for her release. It was then made clear to the caller by Ryan Naipaul, pretending to be Rennie Coolman, that before any conversation about further payments could take place, there was a need to speak to Vindra to ascertain whether she was alive. The caller did not agree to this but agreed to take a question for Vindra to respond to. The question was : "What is the house number where Reeza lives ?" Reeza was Rennie Coolman's son from a previous marriage, and he lived abroad.
Around 2 a.m. (that was now December 25th) the same distinct male voice called back and he gave more than the house number where Reeza lived. He gave the complete address of the house abroad and asked Ryan Coolman whom the caller believed to be Rennie Coolman if he wanted more and when told yes, the caller went on to give details about Vindra's and Rennie's wedding and honeymoon and what happened at that point in time.
The next call Rennie Coolman overheard on the recording system the police set up at his house was on January 6th 2007. By that time Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was already dead. The same distinct male voice was once more insisting to speak to Anand Naipaul, brother to Vindra or her father, and not Rennie Coolman. No particular quantum (sum) was agree upon on the 6th as far as Rennie Coolman was concerned. Approximately two weeks after 6th January 2007, the same distinct male voice called back again. Rennie Coolman will tell you there was no final agreement but the caller was insisting on speaking to Vindra's father or her brother Anand. In early February 2007 the distinct male voice called again and there was an agreement that he would allow Vindra to speak on the phone to her husband Rennie Coolman. About three hours after that agreement the caller called and eventually a voice which appeared to be Vindra's was heard via her phone to the police recording system at Rennie's home.
That voice stated:"This is Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, I am injured."
Ryan Naipaul, pretending to be Rennie Coolman, told the caller that was not Vindra and it appeared to be a recording. The caller hung up and as far as Rennie Coolman is concerned, he never heard that voice again.
Abid Nabbie will tell you that on the 19th December 2006 he was employed at the Xtra Foods Supermarket at Grand Bazaar where he had been the general manager since 1999. His brother, Farouk Nabbie, was also employed as a general manager of the same supermarket.
He will testify that he, his brotler Farouk and one Mrs. Joanne Legall, the accountant of Xtra Foods Supermarket, Grand Bazaar were all gathered at the said supermarket on the night of the 19th December 2006. Police officers were also at the Supermarket. At one stage Anand Naipaul received a phone call and they were eventually instructed to take$ 122,000.00 from the Supermarket's safe. He was given a cellphone No. 680-2666 and he took the company car PBZ 30, a silver Liana to transport the $122,000.00. He and his brother Farouk left with the$ 122,000.00 around 4 a.m.
He will give you details of a distinct male voice giving him instructions as to how he should proceed and exactly where to drive. He received the instructions on the cellphone 680-2666. But what is significant is that each time the distinct male voice called him, it showed up on the cell phone 681-2666 as coming from "Vin'' and he knew this to be Vindra Naipaul-Coolman's phone.
It is also of great interest to digest that on each occasion the distinct male voice called him, the voice would enquire "What is your location?" Not "whey you reach or which part you is? No, the voice asked on approximately twelve (12) separate occasions the same exact question "What is your location?"
After receiving meticulous instructions as to how fast to drive, where to turn, and exactly where to drive, Abid Nabbie, upon reaching the vicinity of Mausica Road on the Priority Bus Route was told to stop. He stopped and the voice said "Drop the money on the side of the road." Nabbie instructed his brother Farouk to drop the money but Farouk hesitated. Farouk had leaned out of the car looking around and the voice said to Nabbie again: "Drop the money." Abid Nabbie told his brother to drop the money and his brother dropped the money on the side of the road, and upon this being done, the voice said "Drive." He did not drive off and the voice said again "Drive". Abid Nabbie asked "Where the lady, where the lady?" No one answered and he observed to his left an empty lot of land, a wall and a drain, and there were two men in the shadows standing, one behind the other, by the drain. All this time his cellphone was still on and the voice said to him again, "Drive" and he again asked "Where the lady, where the lady?" and the voice said "We have to check out this thing, first." So Nabbie hung up the phone and started to drive off. As he was driving off he was looking into the rear-view mirror and he saw a shadow-like person come out from the empty lot, pick up the bag of money and go back into the said lot.
On his journey back to the supermarket, he received a call on his call 680-2666 which came up again as 'Vin cell" and he was told to await further instructions. On reaching the supermarket, a police officer played a recording and he heard the same distinct male voice on the recordings.
Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the common panel of jurors and alternates - let me put the evidence to you that the prosecution will lead regarding the demands and responses for ransom payments.
(i) only$ 122,000.00 was paid. This sum was paid on the morning following Vindra's kidnapping.
(ii) The distinct male voice called several times during the initial payment up to the time Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was killed and no more money was forthcoming. Ryan Naipaul, pretending to be Rennie Coolman was telling the caller with the distinct male voice that he had no money and he would attempt to sell his Kia car in order to raise thirty something thousand dollars. The caller wanted to speak to Vindra's father or her brother Anand Naipaul and he was not getting through to them. He, the caller, was being frustrated by Ryan Naipaul who was pretending to be Rennie Coolman. Thus nine days after Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped, no further ransom payments were forthcoming and thus she was eliminated, deliberately killed. She was murdered. And even after she was killed, attempts were being made by the caller for ransom payments.
Now members of the Jury, you will recall that I indicated to you that within 15 to 20 minutes of the report of the kidnapping, police were on the scene at the Coolman's residence at 742 Radix Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas. The crime scene was processed and certain objects taken into safe-custody by the police as per exhibits.
The bullet casings found on the scene are of great importance in this case and in a few minutes you will hear why. A high profile team of officers was detailed to investigate what was considered to be a brazen high profile kidnapping for ransom. Assistant Commissioner of Police Nadir Khan was eventually placed in charge of this team of police officers. You will hear evidence that the police were closing in on many of the men who now sit in the dock as potential suspects in the kidnapping for ransom vis-a-vis Mrs Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
On the 6th January 2007 around 4 a.m. P.C. Darrel Hunte executed a search warrant at the home of Keida Garcia Accused No.2 at Upper La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin. He found in the presence of Keida Garcia (Acc.No. 2) and Antonio Charles Accused No. 6, a black Marvin Gay hat and a black 9mm firearm.
You will hear evidence that scientific tests later revealed that the bullet casings found at the kidnapping scene on the 19th December 2006 came from this gun. Also silver grey duct tape was found at the unfinished red brick house. Scientific tests later revealed Vindra Naipaul-Coolman's D.N.A. via blood on this silver grey duct tape which was found at the unfinished red brick house.
On the 6th January 2007 several of the accused were arrested and taken into custody. They were (i) Keida Garcia Ace. No 2 (ii) Marlon Trimmingham Ace. No. 3 (iii) Earl Trimmingham Ace. No. 4 (iv) Antonio Charles Ace. No. 6 (v) Devon Peters Ace. No.10 and (vi) Anthony Dwayne Gloster Ace. No.11.
They were all interviewed on the said 6th January 2007 and written notes were taken of the interviews. You will hear what they said at their respective interviews.
On the 13th January 2007 Allan Martins also called Scanny gave himself up to the police: he surrendered into police custody and he was interviewed and notes recorded of that interview.
At this stage I wish to deal with the evidence of the key prosecution witness, one Keon Gloster. I want you to know the following, and the prosecution will lead evidence on these issues.
(i) Keon Gloster is a key witness for the State and the value of his evidence is substantial.
(ii) He was 17 years old at the time when he witnessed the killing of Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
(iii) He is very much acquainted with all the accused men. He knows them for many years and has mingled with them. He is related to quite a few of the accused men.
(iv) His evidence implicated all the accused men in the murder of Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, the dismembering of her body and the subsequent disposal of her body parts by eleven of the accused. Scanny did not participate in the disposal of Mrs. Coolman's body parts.
(v) Keon Gloster, however, recanted his evidence implicating the accused.
I submit to you, and His Lordship will give you legal directions on this issue, that in spite of the fact that Keon Gloster recanted his original evidence implicating the accused, you the jury as the final arbitrators of the facts in this case, are entitled in law to treat his original evidence implicating all the accused as being truthful and reject his evidence in which he recanted his original evidence.
At a later stage I will point to the in-controverted evidence which supports the fact that Keon Gloster is speaking the truth in his original statement/evidence which he recanted.
Keon Gloster a synopsis of his evidence:
Keon Gloster in his evidence in this case says the following. I have paraphrased what he said but shall give you his own words momentarily.
(1) A week before Christmas in 2006 he went into the redbrick house called "Black Album".
(2) On that day he saw Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman. Coolman was sitting down on the pool table and Shervon Peters also called "Buffy" and the man called Raphel was asking her for money and she was crying "Help, Help."
(3) Lyndon James also called "Iron" and Allan Martins also called "Scanny" were outside Scanny's van talking.
(4) The fellows continue shouting at Vindra that they want the money. They were getting on real aggressive and saying where the money - they want the f...... money.
(5) Earl Trimmingham started hitting on her hand saying where the money, we did not kidnap you for nothing.
(6) Allan Martins also called "Scanny" came inside the Black Album and was liming with Shervon Peters also called "Buffy."
(7) Shervon Peters also called "Buffy" and Allan Martins also called "Scanny" are real partners.
(8) He, Keon Gloster, did not like how they were treating Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman. He went home.
His exact words to what I have paraphrased are as follows:
"What really happen last year December 2006, just before Christmas de week before nab I end up going by Black Album de redbrick house near Miss Norma Shop in La Puerta.
...Dat day ah telling you about when ah was passing going to play football ah end up hearing them fellas talking so ah went inside. When ah went inside dat is when ah see the Indian woman Vindra Naipaul the same woman ah see on de news some days before. When dey say Vindra was kidnap in Chaguanas and that was the same woman. I end up liming ah while watching the scene. Vindra short , she was sitting down on top the pool table. She hair black, She nice but not all dat. While Buffy and Raphel was asking she for money and she crying 'Help, Help. Devon, Bobo, Shervon, Dwayne, 22, Wasa, Jameel, Ontonio, Crime B, Mih Brother, Ninja, Bomb, Keida, Joey, Iron and Scanny was outside by Scanny van sitting down talking. Them fellas continue shouting at the woman dey want de money, bawling and getting on real aggressive, dey was saying where de f...... money, ah want de f...... money. Mad Man Marlon end up cutting she hand saying "where the money girl we en kidnapping you for nothing girl."
After a while Scanny end up coming in Black Album and was liming with Buffy: Them is real partners.
Mih brother, Crime B them fellas was watching the scene too. I didn't like how them fellas was treating Vindra so I leave and went home to eat something.
You will hear evidence, members of the Jury, that three days after Christmas, Keon Gloster went back to the Black Album where he witnessed the Accused Lyndon James also called "Iron" shoot Mrs. Vindra Naipaul on her chest and how she was dismembered by Shervon Peters also called Buffy, Marlon Trimmingham also called "Madman" and the man called Raphel.
To put it in his own words : "Christmas day ah end up going by Uncle Gerald in Bon Air West and spend ah three days. When ah come back down ah lime with my friend Kisse then ah went over to the Black Album to check out the scene. Black Boy, Devon, Peters, Najy, Antoni, Williams, was counting money outside, ah set ah hundred dollars and twenty dollars bills.
Buffy, Crime B, NJN, Wayne, Black B, Wasa, Mad Marlon, 22, Keida, Scanny, Bobo, Raphel, and Hedges was inside Black Album.
Vindra was sitting down on the pool table, she didn't even look like she bathe, she had duct tape on she mouth.She hands tie behind she back with duct tape. She foot was tie together with the silver grey duct tape too. She did not have on no shoes. Vindra had blood running down her left foot. Iron he is a black fella living with he sister Abigail and she boyfriend. Iron about forty-four (44) years old, short and thick. Well Iron was standing up right in front of Vindra by the pool table with ah "Nines" ah black gun in he hand. Vindra was crying and Iron was saying he getting f...... fed up, come and carry we for the money.
Then ah see Iron take the gun and shoot she in she chest. She fell back on the pool table like she dead and real blood start to flow.
You will hear the sequence of his evidence after this about verifying the identities to the police of those who were present when Vindra was killed.
In relation to the dismembering of Vindras body this is what he said:
"Well Buffy put on ah whitish rubber glove like the doctors does use, he Raphel and Marlon had on gloves. Buffy take ah power saw and start to cut up Vindra body. He cut off she both foot and they put it in ah black plastic bag, garbage bags nah. Buffy cut up to she belly. Raphel cut up the belly area. Marlon cut off the both hands by the shoulder and bag it. The belly was in next bag. The chest, head and hands in one bag. It had two bags the other parts of the body was in the next bag. They get two white sheet and put one bag in one sheet and the next bag in the next sheet.
Keon Gloster will say in his evidence that when all the men went to bury Vindra Naipual's parts up the hill, "Scanny jump in his vehicle and drive away." His exact words are: "When they leave to go up the hill with Vindra body Scanny jump in his vehicle and drive away. He was by the door watching everything."
Keon Gloster's actual words in his evidence:
"They end up tie the white sheet with the bags... well Bobo, Buffy, Raphel, Blackboy, Keida, Wasa, and Dwayne lift them sheet, they split up nah and we went up the hill. I was crying at first but ah was going to see what dem fellas doing next. They had on gloves.''
So, Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the jury Keon Gloster will tell you in his evidence that the persons who transported the body parts up the hill were: (1) Bobo- he is Ace. No 4- Early Trimmingham (2) Buffy-he is Ace. No. 1-Shervon Peters (3) Raphel- he is deceased. Died in prison while awaiting trial. He assisted in cutting up Vindra, (4) Blackboy- Ace. No. 10-Devon Peters (5) Keida- Ace. No.3- Keida Garcia (6) Wasa-Ace. No. 12- Jamille Garcia (7) Dwayne -Ace. No. 4 - Anthony Dwayne Gloster.
Keon Gloster says in his statement/evidence and you will hear that in transporting the body parts up the hill that (1) Madman Marlon - had a cutlass, (2) Dwayne - had a shovel (3) Bobo - had a shovel also (4) Hedges - had a torch light.
I have already told you that Madman Marlon is Acc.No. 3 - Marlon Trimmingham; Dwayne is Ace. No. 11 Anthony Gloster; Bobo is Ace. No. 4 Earl Trimmingham; and Hedges is Ace. No. 6 Antonio Charles.
Keon Glostser evidence: his exact testimony
"Madman Marlon had a cutless, Dwayne had de shovel, Bobo had ah shovel too in he hand. We walk up about 100 one hundred stairs and turn right into a track and walk to the end of the track. Well Marlon was cutting the grass for them to go through. Dwayne was next with the big yellow light shining so we could see and Marlon to see how to cut the bush. Hedges had ah torch light too. That is Antonio Charles. We walk until we meet a cashew tree and Buffy decided to dig the hole before the cashew tree. Raphel had a pick ax and started to dig but the ground was too hard, so Marlon cut the grass and clear the area. Raphel, Bobo and Antonio leave and went down by Shabba Shack and bring white pigtail bucket with water and they throw it by the area to soften the ground. Raphel and Wasa start digging the hole.
Dwayne had the shovel, Keida had the hoe and start to dig the hole. (N.B.) Them fellas bring up galvanize from by Shabba too. Raphel went into the hold and digging and throwing out the dirt. Hedges and Buggy had the lights. When Raphel finish digging Buffy and them then throw in the bag with Vindra body in the white sheet in the hole. Iron start to throw in the dirt like if he going mad. Keida, Wasa, Raphel and 22 put the galvanize they went and take by Shabba down in the hole. Iron then throw the rest of the dirt on the galvanize and cover the hole. When they finish we went back by Black Album.
"...when we went back by Black Album Raphel had the bucket and he went and get soap, water and scrubbing brush. Raphel started to scrub the pool table and clean up and a while I went home."
Keon Gloster will also testify to the following among other things, he will tell you.
(1) The duct tape they use was Buffy duct tape
(2) The saw the red and white one is Iron own
(3) The gun Iron use is ah nines, it had ah cartidges, it black and you have to chook up the cartridges. When he shoot Vindra he was right in front of her about 2 feet away.
(4) I know all them tools them fellas use.
(5) When they leave to go up the hill with Vindra body Scanny jump in his vehicle and drive away. He was by the door watching everything.
Now I want you to know that it is not necessary, under the concept of "arrestable offence involving violence murder rule" for the prosecution to prove who actually kidnapped Mrs.Vindra Naipaul-Coolman for ransom payments.
All the prosecution is required to prove is that the accused men knew that she was a victim of a kidnapping for ransom while she was at the unfinished redbrick house at La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin, and demands for ransom payments were being made and they were participating in this venture and when the payments were not forthcoming she was eliminated and they assisted in the disposal of her body parts.
The evidence against the men in this regard is cogent, compelling, convincing and credible.
You see, Mr. Foreman, ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, the case against the accused men is based on the following lead of evidence.
(1) Direct Testimonial evidence eye-see evidence by Keon Gloster
(2) Scientific evidence
(3) Circumstantial evidence
The prosecution submits that the "eye-see" evidence of Keon Gloster is supported by the scientific and circumstantial evidence. It supports the fact that he is speaking the truth.
(a) D.N.A. of Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman on the silver grey duct tape found at the red brick house.
(b) D.N.A. of Mrs. Vindra Naipaul-Coolman found on the gloves lodged at the tree root a distance from the house.
(c) The independent evidence of the 9mm. black gun found in Keida Garcia's room in the presence of Antonio Charles.
Circumstantial Evidence: What is circumstantial evidence?
"It is evidence of surrounding circumstances which, by undersigned coincidence, is capable of proving a proposition with the with the accuracy of mathematics."
(1) Duct tape
(2) 9 mm. black gun
(3) Cashew tree
(4) Hole in the ground by cashew tree
(5) Galvanize sheets in hole
(6) Disappearance of pool table
(7) Implements used for digging.
N.B. Earl Trimmingham's statement to police:
(1) woman tied up with duct tape
(2) Tools in house the evening
(3) Naipaul's body being cut up
Jurors must be true to their oath. No sympathy for deceased, no sympathy for the accused men Guilty as charged
N.B. (1) Murder of Vindra by Ace. No 8 Lyndon James
(2) Gloves and chain saw immediately available for disposing body, garbage bags
(3) Immediately after killing body dismembered and body parts bagged
(4) Without a word everybody trekking up the hill to bury body parts
This is participation in the murder- Integral part of Felony Murder Rule
Israel B. Khan S.C.