General — 10 April 2006 — by Keisha Milligan

The trial, at which ten witnesses testified, began on Tuesday, January 31, and sentencing was initially set for Thursday, March 30, but Pascascio?s attorney, Oswald Twist, requested time to prepare mitigation pleas.

The chief witness in the trial was a police officer who was off-duty at the time of the incident. Constable Ramon Cantun testified that he saw Pascascio standing in front of Blankie?s building with another man. He later saw both men run in the direction of Frederick Alley, which runs directly into Pickstock Street, he said.

Cantun said that he went inside the shop to make a check and saw Leal lying on the floor in a pool of blood, apparently dead. Cantun told the court that he called police and secured the crime scene until they arrived.

Pascascio is said to have entered Blankie?s on Pickstock Street and shot Leal in his face.

Leal, a shop proprietor for over 45 years, was in his shop alone in the morning when the men entered. Family members recalled hearing the shots and then hearing the neighbors scream. Seconds later, they realized Leal had been shot.

The motive for the shooting was robbery, said police, because Leal?s pockets were turned out and a couple hundred dollars were taken from his wallet.

The other person initially charged with Pascascio was not convicted of murder because his case had been rendered nolle prosequi after his picture was shown on local television before the identification parade.

Twist argued that it was not fair for only his client to have been tried. After the verdict was presented, Twist said he would appeal his client?s case.

Marjorie Moyston represented the prosecution.

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