Mark Royden Williams, aka ‘Smallie’, who is presently on trial for the December 16, 2007 murder of 35-year-old Rajesh Singh and 25-year-old Fazil Hakim, professed his innocence on Thursday during an unsworn statement to the 12-member jury.
Williams, who is appearing virtually from the Mazaruni Prison, is on trial before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the High Court in Demerara.
The Police, in a statement on the killings, had said that Hakim, Singh and another man were consuming alcohol at Narendra Mukhram’s shop at Agriculture Road, Triumph, East Coast Demerara when bandits turned up. As Mukhram went to close the shop, he was confronted by three men who were dressed in camouflage attire. The men were armed with a rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun.
One of the gunmen held Mukhram at gunpoint and took him to his home next door. The other two gunmen entered the shop, and one of them ordered the three patrons to lie on the ground. When the patrons hesitated, the gunmen opened fire, killing Singh and Hakim.
Over at Mukhram’s house, the armed men held Mukhram’s wife and children at gunpoint and demanded jewellery and cash. According to reports, the Mukhrams handed over $500,000 in jewellery and $300,000 in cash to the gunmen.
At the time of his demise, Hakim, called “Boyee”, resided at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, while Singh, called “Rabbit”, lived at Martyrs Ville on the East Coast of Demerara.
In unsworn testimony, Williams said, “I am innocent of this charge. I know nothing about this charge. On June 15, 2008 I was arrested by the Police and taken to the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters, where I was placed on the prisoner’s bench with handcuffs and shackles.”
He said that one of the Police officers told him that for them to stop beating him, he has to sign a paper. Williams told the court that he signed the statement only “because I could not take it anymore.”
Also testifying was Police Inspector Suraj Singh, the detective in charge of crime at the Turkeyen Police Station. He told the court that, during 2008, he held the rank of corporal and was stationed at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and attached to the Homicide Squad.
Inspector Singh told the court that, sometime in June 2008, Williams was arrested and questioned in relation to the murders, during which he opted to give a caution statement. The Police witness testified that Williams, who was 20 years old at the time, requested of him to write the statement.
According to Inspector Singh, Williams told him, “…that work at Agriculture Road, ah uncle plan that work. Me, Uncle, Capone (Michael Caesar) went to that place to rob them boys. I had a cutlass; I was the lookout man. We tek the cane field… Then we went back to Buxton and hide. Me been there, but me nah had gun. Me nah know who kill them man. Me nah know how much money them get… Me nah get none.”
Under cross-examination by Williams’s counsel, Nigel Hughes, Inspector Singh acknowledged that there were no eyewitnesses to the killings. Hughes put to the Police witness that he and other investigating ranks had beaten and tortured his client to give the caution statement. Inspector Singh denied this.
Caesar was called as a defence witness. In 2020, Caesar, also known as Capone, 37, who is currently serving various sentences for his role in the Bartica and Lusignan Massacres, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter in relation to killing Singh and Hakim.
Sitting side by side with Williams at the Mazaruni Prison, Caesar told the court that Williams was not involved in the killing of the men. He said he met Williams while being incarcerated. Caesar admitted that he was among the men who had stormed the rum shop.
He said it was “Uncle Willie” and “Chung Boy” who shot Singh and Hakim to their heads. The convicted killer further said he was arrested for the murders in 2009 while hiding out in neighbouring Suriname. Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh testified in the trial. He gave the cause of death of Hakim and Singh as shock and haemorrhage due to multiple gunshot wounds. This trial continues on Monday at 09:00h.