Father/Daughter murder: 1 freed, 3 to lead defence

Dead: Aaron Latchman and his daughter Ariana Latchman
Dead: Aaron Latchman and his daughter Ariana Latchman

Three men accused of the July 14, 2019 murders of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara moneychanger, Aaron Latchman, and his daughter Arianna Latchman have elected to lead defence following a ruling that a prima facie case has been established against them.

The ruling was handed down on Thursday by Magistrate Alisha George who is presiding at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Courts.

Those to lead a defence are 37-year-old Paul Chan, called “Anthony”, a bus conductor of Dennis Street, Sophia, Greater Georgetown; 44-year-old Troy Abrams, called “Rasta Man”, a vendor of Middle Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD); and 37-year-old Lloyd Sadloo of Mocha Arcadia, EBD.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old Sean Thomas, called “Yankee”, an electrician of William Street, Kitty, Georgetown, who was jointly charged with the three men, was freed. In his case, the Magistrate upheld a no-case submission made by his lawyer. As such, Thomas was discharged and informed that he was free to go.

A fifth accused, 25-year-old Mark Rufina, who escaped from the Lusignan Prison between October 20 and October 21, 2020, remains on the run.

L-R: Lloyd Sadloo, Mark Rufino, Paul Chan, Troy Abrams, and Sean Thomas

It was reported that on the day of the murder, both Aaron and his 19-year-old daughter had just returned to their Lot 58 Robert Street, Better Hope, East Coast Demerara home when they were attacked by armed men.

It is alleged that the men held the man and his daughter at gunpoint and took them into the upper flat of their home, where they demanded money. Upon receiving the bag that contained an undisclosed amount of cash, the men then shot the money changer and his daughter before escaping.

Shortly after, the businessman and his daughter were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.

Sometime later, a motorcar that belonged to the dead businessman that was used by the bandits was found at Front Road, La Penitence, Georgetown. During a search of the vehicle, an illegal firearm and several rounds of ammunition were found.

Two of the accused killers – Abrams and Sadloo – were arrested and placed before the court before for varying offences ranging from robbery under-arms to trafficking in narcotics. In fact, in 2016, Abrams was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for robbery under-arms committed on moneychangers Rayburn Fraser and Osaffo Ward at America Street, Georgetown, on November 3, 2015.

In 2008, Sadloo was charged with murder. It is unclear at this time what was the outcome of that matter. However, in 2016, Sadloo was handed a four years’ prison sentence after he was found guilty of trafficking marijuana. He was also previously charged with armed robbery and escaping from lawful custody.