Day three of murder trial paints gruesome picture

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By Elesha George

The lone remaining murder accused, Clarence Thomas, sat anxiously in the courtroom on Thursday as, one by one, witnesses recounted the night of April 27, 2018, when the body of 31-year-old Kemmoy Jeffers was discovered, near hog-tied to a wooden structure in a yard on Upper Fort Road.

Jeffers had been deprived of oxygen, according to medical testimony.

Resident pathologist at Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) Dr Petra Miller-Nanton said his death was “due to multiple trauma with hypoxic brain injury, consequent to multiple head injury and asphyxia”, as she recalled signs of multiple trauma to the face, neck, chest and legs.

The 12 jurors were made to relive a part of that night, when the prosecution projected images of the crime scene, which showed Jeffers lying face down in the dirt with restraints around his neck and left leg, suggesting that he had been tied to the wooden structure.

The pictures, however, had proved too much for family members who were sitting in on the proceedings as a wailing mother exited the courtroom twice.

The doctor testified that a bruise to the right brow, extending to the forehead, matched hemorrhage on the inside of the brain and that the bruises to Jeffers’ chest were in keeping with the ligature furrow (indentation from strangulation) around the neck.

On examination of the head, the doctor reported marked cerebral edema and congestion, brain changes in keeping with hypoxia (restriction of oxygen) and subdural hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head and face.

Jeffers also suffered from a displaced fracture of the hyoid (neck) bone due to trauma likely from strangulation (circumferential ligature); intramuscular hemorrhage in the rib area; and incidental lacerations on the right leg, consistent with dragging, falling or being pushed on an uneven surface.

Other testimony including that of the District Medical Officer for St John’s and responding police officers corroborated the findings that Jeffers was found lying face down, tied to a wooden structure with a rope around his neck and around the lower extremities.

The district officer said Jeffers had no pulse or respiration when he pronounced him dead at 12.37am.

Corporals with the police force’s Forensic Identification Unit identified a red blood-like substance upon entering the crime scene. They also recovered a cutlass and piece of wood and a concrete slab as evidence, among other items.

Another cutlass and articles of clothing were also submitted into evidence after one of the corporals spoke with the accused, Thomas.

According to the police, Thomas handed him a cutlass with what appeared to be blood on it, along with a T-shirt and pants.

The cutlass recovered from the crime scene however appeared significantly smaller in size. Almost like a big knife compared to the grander style of the cutlass handed over.

The two other witnesses called on by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Anthony Armstrong were absent for the hearing.

The prosecution rested its case yesterday, and the trial will resume at 9am today when the defence is expected to make.

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