PI into father, daughter murder down to final 2 witnesses

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

The Prosecution is expected to close its case this Friday in the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the murders of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara money changer Aaron Latchman and his daughter Arianna Latchman.

When the matter continued on Wednesday at the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Courts, the Police Prosecutor called four witnesses to give evidence.

The prosecutor was instructed by presiding Magistrate Alisha George to have the final two witnesses testify on Friday.

The PI had been stalled for several months after 25-year-old Mark Rufina, one of the five men charged with the killings, escaped from the Lusignan Prison between October 20 and October 21, 2020. The murder accused remains on the run.

In light of the circumstances, the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advised that the court proceeds with the matter against the other four accused.

The others charged with the murders 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); 37-year-old Lloyd Sadloo of Mocha Arcadia, EBD; and 41-year-old Sean Thomas, called “Yankee”, an electrician of William Street, Kitty, Georgetown.

It has been 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 in question had reportedly held the man and his daughter at gunpoint, and had taken them into the upper flat of their home, where they demanded money.

Upon receiving a bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash, the men then shot the money changer and his daughter before escaping from the scene. Shortly after, the businessman and his daughter were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.

Sometime later, a motor car that belonged to the dead businessman, which 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 murder accused – Abrams and Sadloo – had previously been arrested and placed before the court 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’ imprisonment for robbery under arms committed on moneychangers Rayburn Fraser and Osaffo Ward at America Street, Georgetown on November 3, 2015.