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How businessman Owen Tucker met his cold and senseless murder

GeneralHow businessman Owen Tucker met his cold and senseless murder

Photo: Jerome Chester Crawford

BELIZE CITY, Wed. May 22, 2024

In November of 2022, 66-year-old businessman Owen Tucker disappeared and was feared dead after being missing for some time. Today, an explanation of how the owner of Croc Land may have met his untimely death was told by the Crown’s main witness in the case against Jerome Chester Crawford, now 42. Crawford, at the age of 40, was charged with Tucker’s murder and remanded to prison.

Tucker was murdered 1 year 6 months ago, and this morning his alleged killer’s murder trial kicked off before High Court judge, Justice Derick Pilgrim in a trial by judge without jury.

The Crown’s main witness, an employee of Tucker’s, took the stand and laid out the sequence of events leading up to when he saw the Chief Security Guard for Tucker, Jerome Crawford, shoot his boss with a shot gun and later dispose of his body.

That witness, who reportedly participated in the disposal of Tucker’s body, first by cleaning up his blood and then by holding on to an end of the tarpaulin used to wrap the body of Tucker, said he never willingly helped. The witness said, “On that day in November of 2022, Tucker (his boss) was brought to Croc Land on a motorcycle by his sister. The boss, Tucker was showing her around the place which he had just bought and now owned, when all of a sudden Jerome Crawford, who is the Chief of Security for Tucker, appeared with a gun and walked towards them.”

The witness said he heard when Crawford said to Tucker, “Weh di ef yuh di lie pahn mi fa?”

The witness said the two got into a back and forth, both talking at the same time. He said he could not hear clearly what they were saying; then shortly, he heard a bang, then he heard his boss drop. Crawford then told his sister, “Yuh could goh.”

At this time, according to the witness, his sister was standing close to his Boss Tucker, when he saw his sister hold her ears and walk away and jump on her cycle and ride off.

Crawford then opened the shot gun and loaded it again, recalled the witness. At this time, “I mi spooked,” the witness said, fearful for his life.

The witness said Crawford told him to come and help him clean up the blood, which he did. He said when he was cleaning up the blood he came close to his boss’s motionless body on the ground. Tucker, he said, was not moving, and blood was gushing from his head.

The witness explained that a pickup then pulled up at the yard. He then saw that Crawford had a canvas, and he came to where the body was, spread it like a sheet, and rolled Tucker’s body into it.

He said he saw Crawford get on the phone and make a call, and later a grey car with Taxi plate came. He said he saw Crawford direct the car to come to the building. They then dragged the canvas with Tucker’s body inside it to the entrance of the building. The car trunk popped open; and that’s when Crawford asked him to hold one end of the tarpaulin whereby they placed Tucker’s body inside it.

From the stand, the employee/witness said, “I did help. I assisted because I beta know what to do. A man had a loaded gun in front of me, and I nuh know what to do. Any card could play, I seh.” He said Crawford got into his vehicle/car and told him, “Yuh could go home now. Just nuh seh anything.”

The employee/witness said he took off; and he had to get some fresh air and clear his mind, so he went to visit his wife in Boom. He said he never told her anything for fear of what could happen if he talked.

He said the next day he went to work, and acted like nothing happened; but that evening a lady and a police officer came to see him. Still fearing for his life, he said he didn’t say anything about the murder.

The employee said that it was not until a police officer he knew well and trusted came and spoke to him, that he visited the Ladyville Police Station and made a report about the murder.

Earlier, the Crown had called one witness, whose statement was read into evidence.

That witness, an employee of Victor L. Bryant, testified that he was a salesman at the company, Victor L. Bryant, and that in November of 2022, a man he identified in court as Jerome Crawford came to purchase a 12-gauge shot gun and 10 live rounds of 12-gauge cartridge. That salesman said that it was not the first time that Crawford had come to purchase items at their store.

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