Meryl “Tula” Chiddick, 61, was yesterday found guilty of murdering Conroy Andrew on his farm four years ago.
The jury’s verdict came after an almost two-month trial prosecuted by Crown Counsel Adlai Smith in the High Court.
The 12-member jury panel agreed with the evidence that Chiddick, of Greenbay, shot and killed Andrew at his farm in Patterson Extension, Liberta, on November 10, 2014.
Star witness for the crown, Aundrey “Guttersnipe” Joseph, 23, was also accused of murder but he threw in the towel, pleading guilty to manslaughter earlier, before giving evidence about what transpired on the day of the incident.
He said he followed Chiddick on a bus to Swetes village and they were going on a “move” which eventually took them through some bushes and onto the victim’s farm.
Before venturing to the land, Chiddick used a handkerchief to cover part of his face.
At trial, Joseph referred to the victim as a tall, black Rastaman who had a cutlass in one of his hands.
Joseph, also of Greenbay, said he stayed behind, as instructed by Chiddick, who approached the farmer who shouted, “Is who dat?”
The farmer began advancing toward Chiddick, resulting in him firing a shot in the air.
Four shots subsequently rang out and after Chiddick returned and told him he had shot the man, they went back to the scene where he saw the deceased’s body rolling on the ground.
The man said he remained silent because his co-accused threatened to kill him if he told anyone.
The dead man’s relatives later became worried when he did not return from his farm. When they went looking for him and informed the police he was missing, he was found dead with gunshot injuries about the body.
The breakthrough for the police’s case came in March 2016 and the two men were arrested and charged that same month.
Chiddick subsequently denied involvement and instead accused the police of setting him up, but did not take the stand to explain this at trial.
Now that both men have been convicted, Justice Iain Morley has set January 30, 2019 as the date for sentencing Chiddick, pending a pre-sentencing report on his social life. A date has not yet been set to sentence Joseph.