Corwin Bennett, 22, the man accused of the brutal slaying of the reputed Kraal Road Gang boss Raymond “Killa” Gentle, 34, walked out of the Supreme Court this morning a free man after Justice Adolph Lucas ruled that the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and found him not guilty of murdering Gentle.
Bennett was tried without a jury and his trial concluded on Wednesday, February 26.
In a statement from the dock, Bennett told the court that he was pressured into taking the rap for killing Gentle by an associate of the George Street Gang, whom he said, would have killed him (Bennett), or hurt his family, if he did not take the rap.
Some eight days after the murder, Bennett said, members of the George Street Gang had followed him and threatened him.
In addition, Bennett told the court that he was doing construction work on a house in the Jane Usher Boulevard area and that someone had paid him $5,000 to take responsibility for the murder.
Bennett, moreover, had given police two caution statements, placing himself at the scene of the murder and implicating himself as well.
Justice Lucas, in his ruling, observed that the prosecution never attempted to prove the truth of those statements, both of which contained inconsistencies.
In one of his statements to police, Bennett allegedly said that he had shot Gentle, but in the second statement he said he merely accompanied the shooter and kept watch, while the shooter shot Gentle.
The prosecution’s case was presented by Counsel Crown Shanice Lovell, who was assisted by Crown Counsel Portia Staine.
The prosecution called 14 witnesses. But the prosecution’s main eyewitness, Elvis Bevans, a brother of Raymond “Killa” Gentle, apart from being unable to identify Bennett in the courtroom, was a reluctant witness.
Bevans, however, had taken part in a police identification parade, so when he failed to identify the accused Bennett in court, the prosecution was able to get the identification evidence admitted by calling to the witness stand the police officer who had conducted the identification parade.
Bevans told the court that after his brother was shot, he set chase after the shooter, but the shooter fired at him and missed, before his gun jammed.
Bennett was represented by attorneys Baja Shoman and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga. The defense had made a no case to answer submission, but Justice Lucas did not uphold that submission.
On January 12, 2011, Raymond “Killa” Gentle, a man who reportedly had been reforming his life, was busy supervising the construction of a wooden house less than three blocks from his own house on Kraal Road, when his killer gunned him down.
According to the doctor who performed the post-mortem exam on Gentle’s body, there were six bullet entry wounds. Police scenes of crime technicians, however, removed 17 expended .9mm shells from the murder scene.