By Nisha Paul

Ronnie Thomas – brought to court on Wednesday for the killing in Saigon

A 17-year-old secondary school student is among 5 persons facing an indictable Non-Capital-Murder charge in connection with the death of 30-year old Kendall Smith who was gruesomely chopped to death just before 8.00 p.m. last Saturday night inside of his business place in the troublesome area called ‘Saigon’ in Mont Toute, St George, close to the Sugar Mill round-a-bout.

Smith lost his life after receiving an estimated 15 chop wounds to his body at the hands of his perpetrators in what appears to be a revenge incident.

It was an emotional atmosphere at the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court as the juvenile and the other 4 murder accused persons – Alpheus Thomas of Grand Anse Valley, Chevon Stephen of Woodlands, Ronnie Thomas from Grand Anse Housing Scheme and Micah Stephen appeared before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the incident leading up to Smith’s death stemmed from another chopping incident, which occurred on the morning of May 19, in which the deceased inflicted serious chop wounds to the body of another individual who had to be admitted in a serious condition at the St. George’s General Hospital.

It is understood that this individual who is referred to as ‘Timmy’ lost one of his eyes as a result of the incident.

Thomas and Stephen have retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Francis Williams to assist them while the other two defendants indicated to the court that they are in the process of retaining counsel.

Alpheus Thomas and Chevon Steven were led to court by police escorts

The attorney made an early request to the Prosecution for disclosure of the evidence in the matter.

Four defendants were remanded to the Richmond Hill prison by the Chief Magistrate who set June 12 as the next date for hearing the case.

The case against the 17-year old student who is being treated as a Juvenile was conducted during a separate hearing before the Chief Magistrate who barred the media from sitting in court.

It is understood that the student was taken away from the court to the Grand Bacolet Juvenile Centre until his next court date, which has not been disclosed.

As emotions heightened, a verbal clash ensured between members of both families, who turned up on the court compound in support of their loved ones.
The mother of the deceased, Anabella Frederick fainted at the sight of the men who allegedly chopped her son to death as they emerged out of two police vehicles amidst heavy security.

Michael Stephen – implicated in the vicious chopping incident

The mother was accompanied by two of her daughters and other family members and close friends, while there were several persons expressing support for the accused men.

“We love you”, some persons were heard shouting to the murder suspects as they were being escorted to the police vehicle following the court hearing.
Speaking with reporters after the sitting, Attorney Williams, who made an early application for disclosure “of the the evidence from the police, indicated that once he receives all the information in the case he will be ready to commence the Preliminary Inquiry into the charges when the matter comes before the court again on June 12.

The mother of the deceased was at a loss for words as she tried to recall her feeling after being told of the killing of Smith.
“I don’t even know what to say but I can pray,” she said while indicating that up to now (Wednesday, May 23) she had not seen the body of her son.

She stated that some people are rejoicing over her son’s death and believes it is out of jealousy.

Kendall Smith – succumbed to his injuries as he was mauled by five attackers with cutlasses

“When my son (one of Kendall’s brother who lives abroad) sent the money to buy the shop, he (Kendall) was always with me. So, sometimes I will give him (Kendall) the privilege to be in the shop and they (the boys on the block) always saying he come out where he come out, come down here and want to make money on them and want to run shop and (that) they won’t allow it.

According to the mother and sister of the deceased, a restraining order was executed against one of the accused men, who had threatened to kill her son in her presence during a previous altercation.

It is this confrontation, she said that resulted in the incident which left “Timmy” injured and hospitalised with the chop wounds, including one to his face, which resulted in the loss of one of his eyes.

Mother of the deceased man as she exited the court on Wednesday, accompanied by another family member

“And on top of that”, the grieving mother said, she “understands that he (the man who is now warded at the General Hospital) ran in the shop to chop a boy and Kendall asked him, ‘why here, why here’, and he put up the cutlass to cut Kendall.

She said: “Kendall told the guy to leave (the shop) and he made a swipe at him (the deceased) and Kendall put up his hand and it resulted in the blade taking off one of his fingers”.

The grieving mother also said that her son used to take money from the shop to buy fish, turkey and other items to cook food and “everybody would eat, even the same persons who killed him…”.

“I know some (of them who killed Kendall) and we does go down very well. Kendall was so loving…even self he have an argument with you now, 10 minutes (later) and he would give you a bounce and ask you pardon for what he said to you,” the mother said.

She also recalled another Saturday morning incident when one of the accused men hit her son “one lash of wood behind his head” in her presence and he fell to the ground.”

According to one of Kendall’s sisters, the guy she called ‘Timmy’ had an incident with another guy inside the shop on the morning of May 19 and got vex and pelted the cutlass behind Kendall after he asked him to leave the premises.

The sister said Kendall lost a tip of one of his fingers as a result of the incident.

Additionally, the sister said, “there was a restraining order against the particular individual (Timmy),” and that “they were the same people that used to eat and drink with him so when I heard that they were the ones that kill him I was shocked.”

“All I want to say is that my brother was very loving and I want him back”, she remarked.

Another family member in a comment to this newspaper said that the deceased lived “a crazy life” but she was still saddened by the manner in which he was chopped to death.

Saigon is considered as one of the new “hot bed areas” in the country for serious crimes allegedly including drug peddling by youth gangs.

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