Catherine Pickering was fatally shot as two men robbed her daughter on April 18, police continue to arrest people they say took part in the crime or assisted the perpetrators.
So far, they have charged two men with Ms. Pickering’s murder and another three men and two women with other crimes in connection to the fatal robbery.
On April 29, Akeem Hopkinson, 22, and Shameek Grant, 28, both of Zion Hill, were charged with murder, robbery and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and accused of stealing $2,950 from Maricel Pickering during a robbery in which her mother was fatally shot in the head and chest with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Their appearance before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin came after Shemar Richardson, 24, of Gene Hill, was remanded to prison on a robbery charge for allegedly supplying information to Messrs. Hopkinson and Grant that guided their hold-up.
Meanwhile, sisters Teffiny and Tyann Smith, 18 and 20, respectively, have been charged with aiding offenders in connection with the robbery, police said.
They received bail offers but are due to appear in court today.
Yesterday, police announced two more arrests: K’Shoy Alexander, 20, of The Valley, Virgin Gorda, and Richard Haripersad,18, of Purcell Estate, were charged with possession of a prohibited weapon in connection to the robbery.
After Ms. Benjamin read the charges against Messrs. Hopkinson and Grant last Thursday, Director of Public Prosecutions Tiffany Scatliffe-Esprit read the allegations against them.
After closing up shop on April 18, Maricel Pickering, who owns Big Brother’s Gas Station in Baughers Bay, gave Mr. Richardson, a pump attendant, a ride home, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
She dropped off Mr. Richardson and visited her father and brother, giving the latter $150 from the day’s take, and continued to the Paraquita Bay residence she shared with her mother, the prosecutor read.
When she heard a man’s voice say “give me the money” while exiting her car, Ms. Pickering became frightened and ran for safety, throwing her bag of $2,950 onto the pavement, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
“As she was running away, she heard several loud explosions like gunshots,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read, adding, “She started running onto the porch of her mother’s dwelling and jumped into the back of the house while screaming for help.”
Hearing the commotion, Ms. Pickering’s 67-year-old mother went outside to see what was happening.
“But [she] was subsequently shot in her head and chest by the perpetrators,” the DPP alleged.
The mother was taken to the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital, where she died the next day, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
On April 20, two days after the fatal robbery, Messrs. Grant and Hopkinson were both arrested.
Although Mr. Grant told the police he lived in Johnsons Ghut and Mr. Hopkinson claimed he did not have a fixed address, police later determined they both reside in Zion Hill.
Officers executed a search warrant on their residence the same day, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said, adding that a magazine containing four rounds of live ammunition was found in Mr. Hopkinson’s bedroom.
Police also obtained CCTV footage from the residence, according to the prosecutor, who did not explain when the cameras were set up or by whom.
The men were initially released, but then police reviewed the CCTV footage.
It showed that on the afternoon of April 16, Mr. Hopkinson entered the apartment with three other men, including Mr. Grant, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
Mr. Hopkinson can be seen pulling what appears to be an AK-47 out of a bag and showing the men how it works, she said.
He then put the gun back in the bag, and everyone left the apartment, she added.
On April 17, CCTV footage shows Mr. Hopkinson, along with his girlfriend and another person, taking the bag containing the firearm to his upstairs bedroom, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
Just before 6 p.m. on April 18, Mr. Hopkinson is seen on video transporting the same bag downstairs, placing it in a compartment on his scooter, and driving off, the DPP alleged.
CCTV footage taken from businesses in Fish Bay shows Mr. Hopkinson alone on his scooter at 6:45 p.m. heading east, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read, adding that Mr. Grant called Mr. Hopkinson’s phone at 6:51 p.m.
Footage from CCTV cameras shows Ms. Pickering passing through Fish Bay at around 7:20 p.m., the prosecutor read.
“At around 8 or 9 p.m., the accused Hopkinson is again seen on CCTV footage, riding on a scooter to the [Zion Hill] apartment dressed the same way that he left,” the prosecutor alleged.
Mr. Hopkinson then parked his scooter and brought several bags inside the apartment, including a white plastic bag containing what appeared to be clothing, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
Mr. Grant is seen joining Mr. Hopkinson downstairs, where he removed the contents of the plastic bag, according to the prosecutor.
Mr. Hopkinson is then seen opening a white folded paper, inside of which were cash and other paper documents bound by rubber bands, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
After Mr. Hopkinson is seen taking the cash to the kitchen counter, leaving the other documents on the table, Mr. Grant helps Mr. Hopkinson count the money, the prosecutor read.
Shortly thereafter, the CCTV footage shows Mr. Grant making a phone call, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit said, adding that Mr. Grant paid overdue rent to his landlord the following day.
The CCTV footage then shows Mr. Hopkinson putting the paper documents and what appears to be clothing into a trash bag, the prosecutor alleged.
At 8:33 p.m. the CCTV footage shows Mr. Hopkinson placing the “gun bag” on a coffee table, and then taking the gun to his upstairs bedroom, she read.
At 8:50 p.m., the footage shows Mr. Grant placing the trash bag outside the apartment by the front door, according to the prosecutor.
According to a review of the CCTV footage, Mr. Hopkinson comes back downstairs at 8:58 p.m., at which point he “picks up the same garbage bag, exits the apartment, gets on a scooter and leaves,” the prosecutor alleged.
Meanwhile, Mr. Grant went upstairs to Mr. Hopkinson’s bedroom, where he continued to count cash, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
Mr. Hopkinson is later seen returning to the apartment without the garbage bag, and at 9:46 p.m. Messrs. Hopkinson and Grant both leave the apartment in a red Suzuki Vitara, according to the prosecutor.
Just before 10:30 p.m. that night, Mr. Hopkinson and another person are seen on CCTV footage at Crystal’s Nightclub in Free Bottom, where he is recorded taking out a roll of cash from his side bag, giving the money to a security guard, and entering the club as the other person follows behind, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit alleged.
The following day, April 19, Mr. Grant paid his landlord $1,950 in cash, as well as $360 in cash for the rental of the red Suzuki Vitara, she read.
After the pair were arrested the next day, April 20, additional CCTV footage shows two women at the Zion Hill home following their arrest, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
“The CCTV footage shows two females removing the bag out of the centre of the bedroom” and taking something out, she added.
Both Messrs. Grant and Hopkinson were released after their April 20 arrest, but police executed a search warrant on April 28 and again arrested the two men, this time “on suspicion of robbery of Maricel Pickering and of murder of Catherine Pickering,” Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit read.
While being interviewed by police, the two men were shown CCTV footage, and Mr. Grant “identified himself,” while Mr. Hopkinson admitted to being in the Paraquita Bay area and to being “in the vicinity of the home of Maricel and Catherine Pickering,” according to the prosecutor.
However, “he claimed that he was there to see a partner,” she alleged.
Because the matter deals with murder, it was transferred to the High Court and no further submissions were made by the defence or the prosecution.
Because of his “proximity” to Mr. Grant’s mother and father, attorney Leroy Jones said that he appeared at the arraignment to “guide him procedurally,” but he did not indicate whether he plans to take on Mr. Grant as a client.
Mr. Hopkinson was unrepresented.
Ms. Benjamin remanded the two men to prison and scheduled a report for May 27 via videolink.