By Latoya Giles
There are two murders that still linger at the back of my mind for some unknown reason. These are the brutal execution-style killing of 30-year-old Sheriff taxi driver, Keith Bowen, and the brutal killing of 25-year-old Shenese-Ann Richardson-Austin.
These two murders happened almost four months apart and I was the reporter assigned to cover both stories.
On the morning of Austin’s death, my Editor- in -Chief Mr. Adam Harris had been “calling” my cell phone and I had missed the phone call.
Anyway a friend of mine called asking if I had known about the murder. “I immediately shouted that’s what Adam was calling me for since I had lived not too far from the murder scene”.
I then called my Editor and received “a trashing and a half”. I immediately rushed out of my house to Austin’s home at 502 West Ruimveldt Housing Scheme.
Upon arrival at the scene curious neighbours had converged on the scene to get a glimpse of the bloodied crime scene.
I went inside and was greeted by other media operatives who were already on the scene. Knowing that my competition had already been there before me I wanted to get one of the main eyewitnesses to myself so I could get a full account of what happened. That person was Austin’s sister Rihanna Haynes.
Haynes proceeded to tell me what had transpired around 23:00hrs the night before. The young woman said that her sister had just arrived home after visiting a fast food outlet and was sitting in her room when the intruders pounced. She said that the intruders had gone to the wrong house asking for “cigarettes”. The other house is located in an alleyway that runs alongside the property at 502 West Ruimveldt.
“He come to our neighbour and ask is where selling cigarettes and the people told him that is the next house.” Rihanna said that after the intruder came to the house, “He asked for $40 cigarettes, and he gave me $500.”
The sister said that she turned away to give the man the change, and as soon as she had done so, three others forced their way into the house.
Haynes opined that the first bandit might have signaled the others when she turned away. The woman said that after the bandits entered the house they snatched her gold chain and told her to “shut her mouth and she was going to live”.
The sister said that they didn’t ask for anything, but one of them, who was masked, asked for the basket with the money. The others, however, told him that they “Didn’t come for that,” and proceeded to go into the kitchen and take out a knife.
Haynes said that it was like they knew the house, because they knew where everything was situated. She added that someone must have given them a proper description of the interior of the house. “No one could have walked off the street and found the kitchen knife.”
She said that the bandits proceeded in the direction of her sister’s room, passing every other bedroom in the process. “He knew where he was going. Is like they know where they were going, because they ain’t went to no other room,” she lamented.
She said that the other occupants of the house heard Shenese tell one of the intruders that they could take anything that they wanted, but just don’t harm her.
The sister said that the occupants of the house then started hearing the woman screaming. “We hear she hollering for, ‘Mommy, come and help me.’
“Her mother, Jean-Ann Richardson, had been sleeping when the intruders forced their way into the home. She quickly awoke at the sound of her child crying, but was stopped by one of the bandits, who proceeded to relieve her of her jewellery and ordered her not to “f**king move”.
When the ordeal was over and the bandits had left, the members of the household rushed to the now dead Shenese’s room only to find her lying face down in a pool of blood.
She had been stabbed in the neck. Apparently in a bid to defend herself, she used her hands, sustaining wounds on her forearm.
After the bandits had already stabbed Shenese multiple times, the killer opened a drawer to remove some clothing, which he used to wipe his bloody hands.
Austin was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where she bled to death while receiving medical attention.
The dead woman’s estranged husband, Christopher Austin, was detained but was subsequently released after there was no evidence linking him to the crime.
Relatives had said that the dead woman had endured a very abusive relationship, which got worse when Shenese contended that her husband had gone outside the home to father a child with another woman. Claiming that was the last straw, Shenese returned to her mother’s home, where she remained until her death.
According to the woman’s sister, Shenese had left her husband a few weeks ago and he had threatened to “stab her up.”
When this newspaper contacted the dead woman’s mother Jean Richardson, she said that her life would be forever scarred by her daughter’s brutal murder.
Richardson said that she has been “back and forth’ to the Criminal Investigations Department ever since her daughter’s murder.
“I just keep going and the police just keep telling me that nothing new has happened and that I should check back” the distraught mother explained.
The woman said that to add insult to injury she has received pertinent information from sources that her daughter’s estranged husband Christopher Austin has since left the jurisdiction.
Richardson said that this has placed a new burden for the family, since they believe that with the husband “missing in action” the trail is definitely going to go cold.
“This whole situation just making me the most miserable mother in the world. How could the police allow the prime suspect in a murder case to leave the country?”
The woman said that she has been praying for her daughter’s killers to be brought to justice and be punished for what they did.
The execution style killing of Sheriff taxi driver Keith Bowen has caused me to ask my self one question, “Why would anyone want to kill a “simple” taxi driver, and then callously dump his body from his car in Sussex Street in the vicinity of Cemetery Road, near the Island Bridge. Bowen was shot behind his left ear and had apparently bled to death.
The victim’s bloodstained motorcar HB 254 was later found in Princes Street, between High and Lombard Streets.
Relatives said that Bowen’s gold band, gold chain, and gold ring, as well as cash, were missing from the man.
There was blood in the driver’s seat and on one of the rear windows; one of the victim’s slippers was found in the vehicle. The key was still in the ignition.
Residents in the area had recalled hearing a single gunshot around 20:00hrs, before seeing Bowen lying on the parapet.
The former Vigilance resident was supposed to have been the best man at his younger brother’s wedding the day after he died. He had already bought his suit and his mother had expected him to arrive at her home with the pastry ingredients for the reception.
A manager at the taxi company said that around 09:30 on the fateful night, Bowen had informed the dispatcher that he was heading to Prashad Nagar “on a pick-up”.
Relatives were told of Bowen’s demise via telephone, they immediately rushed to the Georgetown Mortuary and had their worst fears confirmed.
According to the sister, Bowen had no enemies. The sister said that the most “Keith” would indulge himself in was a lot of girlfriends.
Yesterday as this newspaper solicited a comment from Bowen’s sister, Karen Bowen, she said that family members are always visiting the police station regularly to follow-up on Keith murder.
“Whenever my youngest brother comes to Georgetown he would go the Criminal Investigation Department to see if the police has new leads, but they would tell him that there are still investigating the matter”.
The sister said that it is hard losing a loved one in those circumstances and even worse when you don’t know who did the deed.
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