The witness’ testimony was not believed in court
Today, Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez was scheduled to give summation of the trial of Lincoln Sabido, 28, who was facing a possible life sentence if convicted of murder. Sabido was accused of killing Norman Reyes, 31, on January 15, 2008.
According to police, Reyes was asleep in his sofa sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 that morning when someone stomped open his back door and fired several shots at him, one of which caught him in his throat and exited his chest.
Although critically wounded, Reyes managed to walk out of his house and walk a distance of about 50 yards, after which he collapsed and died. Three days after the killing, Sabido was arrested and charged with the murder.
The trial commenced on May 22, 2013, with witnesses being called to testify in a voir dire, after Sabido’s attorney, Anthony Sylvester, argued that Dennis Nembhard’s statement should not be allowed as evidence in the trial because Nembhard was killed before the trial started, and no one would be able to assess its validity through cross-examination.
After the voir dire was held, Justice Gonzalez allowed the statement to be read to the court by the police officer who recorded it, Sgt. Nicholas Palomo.
In his statement, Nembhard had said that he got up about 6:00 that morning after he heard the two loud bangs. He said he came out of his house and went to the corner of Moya and Nutmeg Streets, where he saw Reyes coming from the direction of the Long Barracks and saw him collapse almost in front of Sabido’s house.
Nembhard had said he then ran back to Nutmeg Street, where he saw Sabido running from the direction of the Long Barracks, holding something long and silver that resembled a shotgun.
The Crown, represented by Sheneiza Smith, closed its case and in his defense, Sabido gave a dock statement and said that he was at home when the shooting occurred. His mother, Gwendolyn Davis, was called as his witness and corroborated what he had earlier said.
Both parties presented their closing arguments, but it was only after this was done that Sylvester decided to make a no-case submission.
In his submission, Sylvester argued that it was clear that Nembhard could not have seen what he said he did in his statement.
This morning when court convened, the judge gave his decision. In it he said that “I considered the evidence and I am of the opinion that the view of the witness, Nembhard, was impeded and he could not have seen the accused Lincoln Sabido. The witness was not in a position to see what he said he saw.”
The judge then directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty, and Sabido was able to walk out of court a free man.