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'Release couple waiting on DNA'

Accused in jail for millionaire murders

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

THE attorneys representing a couple charged with double murder have called for their clients to be discharged since the State was still gathering evidence in the case.

Defence attorneys Subhas Panday and El Farouk Hosein said yesterday that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) evidence was still outstanding, and it was unfair to have Krishna Rampersad and his ex-wife, Hilda Donna Bullock, in jail in the interim.

The accused were charged in February last year with the murder of millionaire business couple Mahase and Darling Rampersad, whose decomposed bodies were found in August 2002.

In past court hearings, the court was informed that the State was waiting on DNA evidence before the matter could begin.

Yesterday, Panday argued before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington: "You can't have people incarcerated for so long while you conduct investigations. You conduct investigations and then you charge."

He said the two should be released and should evidence be found against them, they could then be charged again.

State attorney Chantal Hospedales admitted the State was awaiting the DNA evidence, which is abroad.

But Wellington, sitting in the San Fernando First Magistrates' Court, agreed that the matter should be moving forward and adjourned the case to March 19.

He said on that day, the matter should begin with whatever evidence is available.

Last year, dozens of statements were filed and sworn by the State in the matter.

The Rampersads, founders of a successful auto supply business, were abducted at the gates to their Palmiste, San Fernando, home more than ten years ago.

Their decomposing bodies were later found, and a post-mortem report found they were shot in the back of their heads and their skulls crushed.

Rampersad, 37, of Woodland, and Bullock, 28, of Rambert Village, San Fernando, were charged by Cpl Terry Tambie of the San Fernando Homicide Bureau with the murders, which allegedly occurred between August 3 and 8, 2002.

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