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Jury clears teen of murder of his schoolmate

A Supreme Court jury yesterday unanimously acquitted a teenager accused of a retaliatory murder.

Prosecutors alleged that Chris Collins, 18, was responsible for the February 10, 2017 shooting death of 16-year-old Wensky Joseph, who was also known as Richie, at Peardale Park.

Police arrested Collins eight months later on October 14 when an anonymous witness came forward. He remained on remand at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services until the jury’s verdict.

The witness claimed he was with Joseph when two armed men came through a shortcut.

The witness said Collins opened fire on Joseph and the second gunman fired at him, but he was able to escape by jumping over a wall.

The witness said he remained in hiding for about eight months because he thought Collins had seen him with Joseph.

Meanwhile Collins denied involvement in the murder from the investigative stage.

When questioned by a homicide detective, Collins denied that he was contracted to kill Joseph as payback for a 2016 murder.

Collins said that he knew Joseph as they had both attended C.H. Reeves.

On the night of the murder, Collins testified that he was watching television at his home on Ida Street when he heard five gunshots. Collins said he went outside and heard sirens about two minutes later before coming back in.

In her summation to the jury, Justice Carolita Bethell told the jury not to speculate on the reason that the eyewitness’ identity was concealed by an anonymity order.

However, she said if the defendant knew the identity of the witness he might have been able to challenge his reputation and, consequently, the jury would be “in a better position to judge whether his evidence is reliable or not.”

Raymond Rolle represented Collins and Basil Cumberbatch and Perry McHardy Jr. prosecuted.

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