It was commotion in the courtroom of Magistrate Alicia George at the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Courts, yesterday, after the five men charged with the murder of the Better Hope moneychanger and his daughter, made their first appearance to answer charges related to the allegation.
As soon as they were brought into the courtroom and placed in the prisoners’ docks they started shouting. “They lying on people. We ain’t went nowhere around there. Them police just trying to cook up a story against we.”
The defendants are Mark Rufino, called ‘Mark’, 25, a labourer of Parika Facade, East Bank Essequibo; Paul Chan, called ‘Long Hair’ or ‘Anthony’, 37, a conductor of 10 Dennis Street Sophia, East Coast Demerara; Troy Abrams, called ‘Troy ‘ or ‘Rasta Man’, 44, a vendor of 34 Middle Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara; Lloyd Sadloo, 37, self employed of 220 Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara; and Sean Thomas, called ‘Yankee’, 41 yrs, an electrician of 59 William Street, Kitty.
The men are jointly charged for murder. As the charge was read to them they were not required to plead as it was made indictable. They were all unrepresented.
The charge alleged that on July 4, 2019 at Robert Street, Better Hope, East Coast Demerara, they
murdered Aaron Latchman and Arianna Latchman, during the course or furtherance of a robbery.
They were remanded to prison until August 15, next, where statements will be served into the matter.
When the men were escorted out of the courtroom they covered their faces and started shouting again. “I would give y’all things to write because them police lying pon we,” Sadloo shouted to media operatives.
According to reports, Aaron Latchman arrived home around 15:15hrs on the day in question and was attempting to park his car in his yard when two gunmen struck.
One of the gunmen reportedly entered the house and shot Latchman’s daughter. The other, meanwhile, then attacked Latchman, and the two men got into a scuffle which resulted in the gunman’s firearm ending up in a neighbour’s yard.
The gunman who had shot Latchman’s daughter then exited the house and came to his accomplice’s aid, shooting Latchman as well. After Latchman fell to the ground the attackers snatched up a bag of cash and fled.
The killers soon disappeared into a waiting car, which reportedly headed east. The moneychanger and his
daughter were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where they were both pronounced dead on arrival.
A post mortem examination performed by Dr. Nehaul Singh revealed that the money changer was shot three times while his daughter, Arianna, received a single shot to her chest.On July 6, police were alerted to the presence of an abandoned car in D’Urban Backlands.The vehicle was a white Toyota Premio, PNN 1642. Detectives also found a false number plate, PVV 5130, in the area.
That proved to be the first vital lead to the identity of the gang. Then police dogs sniffed out a bullet casing and warhead that were in the car. Provided with the licence number, detectives then easily tracked down the owner of the abandoned car.
The owner is said to have stated that he took some individuals to North Better Hope, East Coast Demerara, the day before the Latchmans were slain and he also identified one of the individuals to whom he subsequently rented the vehicle.That led police to the first suspect. The interrogating of that individual caused a domino effect, which led investigators to four others.
After being taken back to the scene of the killing, two of the suspects reportedly showed the investigators how they scaled a back fence to enter the Latchmans’ yard.
In 2016, Sadloo was sentenced to four years in prison by Magistrate Judy Latchman for cannabis possession. He however appealed the matter and was granted bail pending pre-trial liberty.
Sadloo was also previously held for armed robbery, escaping from police custody, and charged in 2008 with murder.
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