After nine months, the Preliminary Inquiry held at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court into the case of non-capital murder against Dave Benjamin has ended with the sitting Magistrate, Karen Noel deciding to send the matter for trial before a high court judge and jury.
Benjamin has been charged for the January 24, 2016 murder of U.S national, Jessica Colker, which occurred at a remote beach, just past the well-known La Sagesse beach.
A total of 18 witnesses gave evidence into the matter including Brian Melito, husband of the murdered victim, and a UK resident who were all guests at the La Sagesse Nature Centre hotel.
State Prosecutor, Howard Pinnock who spoke to THE NEW TODAY lamented the fact that the Inquiry took such a long time to be completed.
“It could have been a little shorter but as you know the St. David’s Court only have sittings on Mondays and Fridays. By and large, all the witnesses were cooperative…we presented the best case we could and the Magistrate obviously ruled that there is a case for him to answer in the high court”, he said.
According to Pinnock, the high court proceedings will follow the same procedure as that of the Preliminary Inquiry with the exception that the accused would be given a chance to tell his side of the story.
The State is hopeful that the trial at the high court level could take place during the early months of 2017.
Colker was killed one day after she and her husband arrived in Grenada for a vacation.
The two had embarked on a leisure walk on the beach when they were allegedly taken hostage by Benjamin.
Melito was ordered to run by the attacker, who took away his wife, raped her and then killed her.
The husband raised the alarm and a group of persons moved towards the area where the American woman was last seen alive.
The body was discovered about an hour later and a post-mortem conducted concluded that the lady had died as a result of extensive skull fracture and asphyxia.
The murder was committed two months after Benjamin was released from the Richmond Hill Prison on a rape conviction.