A Berbice High Court jury yesterday found Stafford Harry called ‘Bilal’ guilty of the March 27th 2010 murder of watermelon vendor Hansraj Samaroo called ‘Long hair’.
The 12 member mixed jury convicted Harry after more than two hours of deliberation. The verdict was handed down before Justice Brassington Reynolds and the prosecution led by Prosecutor Towana Hardy. Harry will receive his sentence on July 3rd. A probation report was ordered by the judge.
Meanwhile, immediately after hearing the verdict, the accused shouted “wow” in disbelief at what he just heard. He broke down in uncontrollable tears as he stared at the jury while shaking his head. His relatives who were also present in court seemed equally shocked as Harry, while the wife, son and another relative of the victim showed relief. Prior to the verdict, Harry gave his cousin a “thumbs up” with a sharp smile. The wife of the deceased, Kamarie Samaroo told this publication that “I am satisfied”. As the ranks waited for the Prison bus to arrive to take the accused back to prison he was heard crying at the top of his voice in the courtroom for a while. When the bus eventually arrived, the tears continued to flow while he was being taken away.
Hansraj Samaroo, of Hampshire Village, Corentyne, Berbice, was shot during the course of a robbery committed at his home on the 27th March 2010. He died a day after the incident after going through an 8-hour surgery.
The Prosecution in their case presented during the trial stated Harry in the company of two others robbed the deceased of jewellery and money and subsequently shot him.
The state’s principal witness Kumarie Samaroo, wife of the deceased, in her testimony had detailed that she lived with her husband and two of her children at their lot 63 Hampshire Village home. She explained that on the day of the incident, she had just come from the market, at approximately 17:30hrs, and had secured the money from her day sales in a wardrobe in the upper flat of their house. Her husband was upstairs and she retreated to the bottom flat to begin cooking dinner. She said that shortly after she heard their dogs barking and she checked outside to see what they were barking at. She recounted that when she turned around Harry was in front of her with a gun in his hand telling her “lie down and take off yuh jewellery”.
The woman said that at that point she began to scream for her son ‘Rishi’ who lived next door. She also called out to her husband who was still upstairs but by that time Harry had rushed to the upper flat, and she heard gunfire minutes after. It was her husband being shot.
Samaroo also testified that Harry dealt her lashes about her body and demanded money. She said that the accused and others had handkerchiefs tied across their mouths and had on caps, and she recognized the accused after he removed the handkerchief from his face. She eventually gave in and directed him to the wardrobe which contained the day sales of $300,000, proceeds from the sale of a motorcycle totaling $200,000 and US$1000. Her husband had $20,000 and a cellphone in his pocket – that too was stolen along with her gold jewellery. They escaped and her son Rishi chased after them on a motorcycle. Shortly after he returned with her other son Samuel Samaroo, and they all took Hansraj Samaroo to the New Amsterdam Public Hospital. He was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he succumbed shortly after surgery.
Pathologist Vivekanand Bridgemohan had testified that it was damage to the femoral artery that caused hemorrhage and shock. He said at the time he could not see specifically what may have caused laceration to the femoral artery. Seven witnesses in total gave sworn testimonies before the court.
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