…as attempted murder charge withdrawn
A joint charge of attempted murder has been withdrawn against Curtis Vasconcellos and
Jason Howard, who are indicted for allegedly carrying out a robbery at Tower Suites and shooting at two employees.
However, two new charges were instituted against Vasconcellos, 23, of Lot 26 Third Street, Alberttown; and Howard 21, of Freeman Street, East LaPenitence.
The indictable charge was withdrawn against them yesterday by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan based on directives by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The charge withdrawn against them had alleged that on December 14, 2016, at Main Street, Georgetown, they unlawfully and maliciously wounded Balmick Persaud, a security guard at Tower Suites, with intent to murder him.
The new charges against the accused now allege that on December 14, 2016 at Main Street, they unlawfully and malicious discharged a loaded firearm at Persaud with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or cause him grievous bodily harm.
It is further alleged that on the same day, at the same location they unlawfully and maliciously wounded Persaud with intent to maim or disfigure him.
Further Vasconcellos and Howard pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that on December 14, 2016 at Main Street, while in the company of others and armed with guns they robbed Baldeo Seegobin, an accountant at Tower Suites, of $2.9M, a cheque book, a hard drive, a comb, a bottle of perfume among other items- to the value of $2,969,700.
According to reports, Vasconcellos and Howard were captured by police during a hide speed chase after the robbery. The police said that the accountant had recently returned from making a substantial withdrawal from a city bank and was about to disembark his vehicle in front of the hotel, when he was approached by one of the men.
One of them discharged a round at the vehicle, shattering the window screen. The bullet grazed the security guard, who was sitting in the vehicle behind the accountant.
According to information, the bandits snatched the bag containing the cash and escaped on a waiting motorcycle. A mobile patrol pursued the two accused, who tried to elude police and ended up in the Sussex Street Canal in the vicinity of North East La Penitence.
They will make another court appearance on February 13 and February 16 respectively.
Before he was apprehended by police for this robbery, Vasconcellos had been out on High Court bail pending trial for attempted murder committed on businessman, Neezam Khan.
He allegedly shot at Khan during a robbery at his business place located at Grove, East Bank
Howard is alleged to be a serial robber. During that robbery, his accomplice Michael Grant, formerly of Agricola, East Bank Demerara was shot dead by the businessman.
Meanwhile, Howard, Joel Blair; Sanjay George called ‘Coolie Boy’ and Shahabudeen Mohamed, called ‘Milo’ are on remand for the murder of Mohamed Munir and his wife Jamila Munir, who were burnt to death after bandits set their Zeelugt home ablaze.
The charred remains of Mohamed Munir, 75, and his wife Bibi Jamila Munir, 69, were retrieved from the debris of their two-storey home after the fire was extinguished. It was reported that during the fire the couple phoned several relatives to tell them that bandits were on the property.
The plot was reportedly hatched by a 25-year-old part-time fisherman who lives in a street behind the Munirs after he heard the rice farming couple kept $20M in their home.
On the night of April 17, 2016 the neighbour, the 21-year-old robbery accused and another man climb onto the verandah of the couple’s house while the others stood watch outside.
The trio entered the couple’s home and began to ransack it.
However the couple heard the commotion awoke and raised an alarm. The two elderly people also refused to come out of their bedroom.
According to reports, one of the intruders then set a sofa alight and tossed a fuel cylinder near the burning couch. They then fled through a track that led to a church and a cemetery behind the couple’s home. From their hiding place, they reportedly heard the two elderly people screaming for help.
Howard still has several pending matters for robbery under-arms at the Georgetown and Sparendaam Magistrate’s Courts. He is also charged for unlawfully and maliciously wounding Quacy Joseph, with intent to commit murder.
Joseph was an on-duty security guard when he was shot by a fleeing bandit after a robbery within an electronic store in the Fogarty’s building, Water Street, Georgetown, last year.
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