Free Bottom resident Royden Sebastian was charged with murder last Thursday in Magistrates’ Court, where Director of Public Prosecutions Tiffany Scatliffe-Esprit alleged that he fatally shot George Burrows last month after entering Mr. Burrows’ Purcell Estate home in apparent pursuit of Mr. Burrows’stepson.
On the night of Sept. 2, Mr. Burrows was at home with his four children and stepson, watching movies in his living room, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said.
His stepson, she added, was in the kitchen eating food when he saw the kitchen door open.
“He did not pay mind to it initially, but then saw an arm, and then he saw a lone gunman with what appeared to be a black firearm,” the prosecutor said.
The stepson immediately fled, and the gunman fired a shot but missed, before chasing him down a nearby hallway, according to the DPP.
“As the gunman ran through the house, he fired one shot into the head of Mr. Burrows,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
The stepson ran out the main entrance door “and fled Purcell,” the gunman still in pursuit, the prosecutor read.
Apparently realising that this chase was futile, however, the gunman returned to the residence, where one of Mr. Burrows’ two sons, who uses a wheelchair, was unable to escape, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
“The gunman placed the gun to the back of the disabled man’s head, attempted to pull the trigger, but nothing happened,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
He then fled the residence, and was seen running in the direction of the Purcell Estate basketball court, the DPP added.
“The police and ambulance were summoned,” she said.
“However, Mr. Burrows succumbed to the injuries.”
An initial report described the gunman as a well-built black man over six feet tall, who was wearing a t-shirt and dark pants, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said.
“Other accounts saw the accused … on the basketball court moments before the murder dressed in identical clothing,” she alleged.
During the ensuing investigation, police obtained CCTV footage from the surrounding areas, including some that appeared to show “the figure of a tall male, immediately after the shooting, walking in the area of the basketball court towards the area of Free Bottom, wearing a white t-shirt and black pants,” she said.
As investigations continued, a witness who claimed to have a “general view of Mr. Burrows’ residence” came forward to cooperate with police, according to the DPP.
Because the shooting happened during curfew, the area was largely deserted, but it was lit by streetlamps, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said.
The witness stated that on the night of the murder, they saw a flash of light accompanied by a loud bang near Mr. Burrows’ kitchen, the prosecutor said.
Continuing to observe the scene, the witness claimed to have then seen a tall male wearing a white t-shirt and black pants exit the front door of the residence, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged. According to the witness, the man was observed to go back inside and over to Mr. Burrows’ disabled son, put the gun to his head, and then flee the building towards the basketball court, the prosecutor alleged.
“The witness [said] that they had a good view due to the lighting, and they said that they recognised the accused as the gunman, and they knew the person for several years,” she said. The witness later “retrieved a photograph that they had of the accused and surrendered it to the police,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said.
Arrest of accused
On Oct. 6, police visited the defendant’s residence but did not find him there, Ms.Scatliffe-Esprit said.
The police asked Mr. Sebastian’s brother to tell him to contact the Road Town Police Station, but this “request was not honoured,” according to the DPP.
At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Oct. 13, police spotted the defendant on the Purcell Estate basketball court, and he was apprehended and arrested under suspicion of the murder of Mr. Burrows, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
Mr. Sebastian, 37, was taken into custody and interviewed under caution with his counsel present, she added.
During his interview, Mr. Sebastian maintained that he and other people were at the basketball court when the murder occurred, according to the DPP.
Mr. Sebastian also told police during the interview that after hearing the gunshots, everyone at the court dispersed, although he decided to remain a while longer, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said. “After not observing anything further, he went home,” the defendant allegedly told police, she added.
Mr. Sebastian denied any involvement in the death of Mr. Burrows, according to the prosecutor. “He was then charged with the offence. He was cautioned and he made no reply,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said.
Mr. Sebastian’s attorney, David Penn, also addressed the court last Thursday.
“This is the first time [my client] is hearing … what the Crown is alleging to have happened,” he said, adding, “My client did give a very candid and open and honest interview, and intends to defend his innocence.”
Mr. Sebastian was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison without a bail offer.