Man freed of murder charge in trial without a jury

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Updated: August 18, 2015

Twenty-five year old Ernest Staine, one of two men charged with the murder of 36 year old Wendelin Reimer, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas in a trial that was without jury. Reimer who was the owner of Eagle One hardware Store, located at mile four and a half on Phillip Goldson highway, was shot and killed during a robbery of his store which occurred around 12:45 p.m. on October 7, 2011. Staine was found not guilty on a no case to answer submission that was made by his attorney, Dean Molina. Christelle Wilson, the attorney for the other defendant, 29 year old Nicholas Swaso, had made a no case to answer submission on Swaso’s behalf but it was not upheld by Justice Lucas. Justice Lucas explained that he upheld the no case submission for Staine because although Staine had given oral and written statements in which he admitted he participated in the robbery, he was not the shooter and there was no evidence that it was a case of joint enterprise. Justice Lucas also said that Staine was not identified on the footage of the surveillance camera at the store. But in Swaso’s case Justice Lucas said that he has a case to answer because Assistant superintendent of Police Henry Jemmott, who was a sergeant at the time, had identified Swaso in the footage and Jemmott testified that he has known Swaso for 15 years. The chief witness for the Crown, Carmelita Peck, who was the cashier at the store, testified that while she was behind the counter three men entered the store and said they wanted to purchase a muffler for a motorcycle. She said they made two trips in and outside the store and when they entered the third time one of them who wore a white t-shirt pulled out a fire arm and said that it was a robbery. She testified that one of the other two men went behind the counter and took some money from the cash register. She said Reimer came from the back of the store and when he saw what was happening he ran to the back of the store. The gunman pursued Reimer and Peck testified that she heard what sounded like two gunshots and the other two men ran out of the store. She said when she went to the back of the store she saw Reimer lying face down in a pool of blood. According to Staine’s statement, they came up the river in a boat and went to the store. The trial of Swaso has been adjourned for Wednesday, August 19. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell is representing the prosecution.