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Second man acquitted of murder of Mennonite businessman

Twenty-nine year old Nicholas Swaso, charged with the murder of 36 year old Mennonite businessman Wendelin Reimer, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas in a trial that was without jury. Reimer was shot and killed on October 7, 2011, during a robbery of his store, Eagle One Hardware, located at mile four and a half on Phillip Goldson Highway. Three men entered the store and asked the cashier, Carmelita Peck, if the store had muffler for motorcycles and where was her boss. After she told them, no, they left and returned shortly afterwards and asked to borrow her cellular phone. She told them that she did not have any credit and they left and returned minutes later. Peck testified that one of them, who wore a white t-shirt, pointed a pistol at her and told her that it was a robbery. She said another man, who wore a black shirt, went into the cash register and took out the money that was in it, $175. She also testified that Reimer came from the back of the store and when he saw what was happening he ran back in the direction from which he came. She said the gunman pursued Reimer and she heard 2 shots. She said the men, who were at the front of the store, ran. She testified that when she went to the back of the store she saw Reimer lying face down in a pool of blood. The prosecution’s evidence had relied on a video footage that was captured on a surveillance camera that was in the store. Assistant Superintendent of Police Henry Jemmott, who viewed the footage, testified that Swaso was the person in the white t-shirt who, circumstantially, had shot and killed Reimer. Jemmott said he has known Swaso for 15 years. But in his ruling, Justice Lucas said that the images in the footage were not clear and that it would be unfair to convict an accused only on the evidence of Jemmott and so he found Swaso not guilty. Swaso had given an alibi testimony. He said that at the time of the incident he was at home with his common-law wife, Pernelia white and Pernelia’s friend, Mrs. Norma Longsworth. Both Pernelia and Mrs. Longsworth testified and corroborated his testimony. Another man, Ernest Staine, was charged jointly with Swaso but he was acquitted on a no case submission. Swaso was represented by attorney Christelle Wilson while the Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell.