Murder accused gunned down

By Cecily Asson
October 20, 2009 – newsday.co.tt

Peter GarciaHANDCUFFED murder accused Peter Garcia was yesterday morning gunned down in the yard of the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court, by two hitmen dressed as construction workers, as he (Garcia) was being led to the court by a policeman.

The brazen, cold-blooded murder which took place at about 10.30 am, was witnessed by policemen and persons gathered outside the courthouse. The unarmed policeman who was escorting Garcia, escaped unhurt. Garcia, 30, who was once dubbed “the country’s Most Wanted,” was shot once in the leg and when he fell to the ground, one of the gunmen stood over him and fired two shots to the left side of Garcia’s head. He died on the spot. The hitmen escaped while several persons ran screaming.

While the shooting was taking place, Garcia’s attorneys Prakash Ramadhar and Jason Jackson were inside the courthouse appearing on his behalf.

“It is a shame that something like this can happen to someone who is in police custody. It is an even greater shame to someone who was declared a high risk prisoner,” Jackson said moments after the killing. Police sources said that as Garcia was being escorted to court, two men dressed in construction gear complete with helmet and reflective vests walked up to him, pulled out guns and started firing.

The police escort ran for his life, leaving Garcia to be gunned down.

The killers jumped a fence into the yard of the nearby Rio Claro Anglican Church and ran towards and got into a gold-coloured Nissan Almera car which sped off.

The body was viewed by the District Medical Officer and later removed to the Forensic Science Centre.

Garcia shot into the headlines earlier this year following the murders of brothers Jason and Gerard Garcia, Curtis Roy and Wayne Gonzlaes in Agostini Village, Rio Claro between October 2008 and April 2009.

He subsequently went on the run and remained in hiding in the Rio Claro forest for several weeks before surrendering to the police in May. Garcia was arrested but was never charged with the murders of the men and instead appeared in court in May this year, for the April 18, 2008 murder of chutney promoter Simboonath Kumar.

On the first court appearance on May 15, he was served with five warrants for failing to appear in court on charges of kidnapping and robbery.

Those matters were subsequently dismissed, a relative told Newsday.

Yesterday, Garcia re-appeared before Magistrate Joanne Connor in Rio Claro Magistrates Court on for the murder of Kumar who was murdered at a bar at Tabaquite Main Road and the attempted murder of Sherwin Wilson at Agostini Road, Rio Claro.

The matters in which he was represented by attorneys Prakash Ramadhar and Jason Jackson did not proceed yesterday because of absence of State Prosecutor Jayanti Lutchmedial.

The State was however represented by another attorney and the matter was adjourned to November 4.

Garcia’s father Harvey Huggins, 70, of Mayaro and another male relative both questioned why the men who were seen earlier lurking around the court were not questioned especially as there was no work in progress because of the rain.

“This was a definite lapse in security at the court,” Huggins said. My son was in handcuffs walking with the police when he get killed. How do you explain that?

For the entire morning, I heard these men were in an around the court, everyone thought they were workers,” Huggins said. Police mounted roadblocks in Tableland and Biche while a helicopter and tracker dogs joined in the hunt for the killers.

Efforts to contact president of the Assembly of Southern Lawyers Hendrickson Seunath SC, for comment on the killing proved futile.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,109476.html

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog’s URL for this article:
www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=1771

7 Responses to “Murder accused gunned down”


  • Victim’s dad: I can’t talk or I’ll be dead too
    Shooting death of prisoner Peter Garcia

    ‘Where were the cops?’
    THE girlfriend of slain murder accused Peter Garcia yesterday said she is demanding answers from the Police Service as to why only one unarmed policeman was used to escort Garcia to and from the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court.

    ‘Cellmate tried to poison him’
    PETER Garcia’s cellmate tried to poison him inside the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) three weeks ago, his girlfriend, Crystal Bullock, said yesterday.

    Brutal contempt
    Monday’s shooting death in the yard of the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court of murder accused, Peter Garcia, carried with it the frightening message that soon no place in Trinidad and Tobago may be safe from criminals any longer.

  • This is a terrible comment on the attention to detail paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.I was not surprised at this, because we adopted the US “perpwalk” attitude, parading the prisoner for all to see and jeer. There was a possible murder averted in the arrestee for the murder of Sean Luke. Police had to create a cordon sanitiare for this trial, around the court.Then, there was a big drug trial at the Hall of Justice, and I was horrified to see a police car pictured in the papers, with the trunk loaded up with drugs. There was one police officer with a rifle, guarding a million dollar drug haul. Fortunately, there was no incident of bloodshed or murder.
    We may need to drastically change how we arraign people involved in major crimes,especially where those accused could possibly finger someone else.
    A critical review of our court security systems need to be made, and those older courts with public galleries running around them, need to be retained only for “HE cuss she out” types of neighbourly disputes.
    For all other cases, three locations- Say Sangre Grande, Port-of-Spain and San Fernando should be the venues for all major cases. Security at these criminal courts needs to be beefed up.
    There must be no spectators in the courts who are not directly involved in the trials that day. When criminals are brought to court, they must be taken in vehicles that would allow direct access inside the court, without spectators being able to see or shoot them. Police sharp shooters need to be outside the court, and in the corridors, on full alert, and they must be empowered to fight fire with fire. Rooftop observers are also needed. The criminals in TnT must not be allowed to act with impunity. The police must shoot to kill if anyone produces a weapon in the vicinity of a courthouse. Enough is enough.

    We often, when we want to be bitchy, say that the US is a police state. I cannot imagine a situation like this happening in the US, not since the Jack Ruby-Harvey Oswald situation. Sometimes, a prisoner may act up, and once, one snatched a gun from a security guard. Four men were on him in a minute. Such a beatdown! Some countries play at law and order, and some counties mean it.We in TnT have to begin to mean it.

  • Cops hold 5: Shooting death of prisoner Peter Garcia
    Police have in custody five men who they believe can help solve the murder of Peter Garcia, who was shot dead at the doorsteps to the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

  • I guess we are looking at the effect and not the CAUSE of these MAFIA hits.
    We have all type of Mafia masquerading as ‘doubles vendors’ with millions in accounts (and we bitching bout who should run the FIU). These were PROFESSIONAL assassins, and God knows how many hits they have been hired to carry out by the Ramkillaman and Sabher families.

    *It cannot be the “small man who is laundering the money” in T&T, Finance Minister Karen Tesheira said yesterday, presenting Parliament with anti- money laundering legislation with penalities of fines up to $1 million and jail time.“Who is laundering the money? Who is laundering the money? It cannot be the small man—it cannot be the small man. We all know that, so we have to be realistic about this fight on crime,” Tesheira said, adding that Government meant to attack the root cause of crime via the legislation. “It(money laundering) is a crime that sometimes we forget about because it is dressed up so very nicely in a white shirt and a tie and looks so respectable and we sometimes forget those persons involved in organised crime are really the true criminals.” Tesheira made the declarations, concluding debate on legislation to establish a Financial Intelligence Unit for implementation of anti-money laundering policies of the Financial Action Task Force. The bill is part of a package in the Government’s legislative thrust against corruption particularly regarding white-collar crime. Amendments presented yesterday provided for stiff penalties. Tesheira said Government’s legislative moves on the issue would put T&T well on the way to making a dent in crime. “Not at the symptomatic level, but at the root… this approach is not a plaster for the sore but the antibiotic necessary to root out the scourge of money laundering which starts, not in the hills of Laventille but somewhere else, where there are persons with the means and ability to launder their money that are bringing in the guns to T&T,” she said, Laventille but somewhere else, where there are persons with the means and ability to launder their money that are bringing in the guns to T&T,” she said“In my view what we see as the symptoms of crime are what we see ressed in our streets, the blood left in our streets by our young people.” Tesheira said money laundering often undermined a country’s private sector. “Front companies, it’s not just the parlours,” she added Tesheira said money launderers gravitated to jurisdictions where they felt they would get a “soft landing” and where they felt enforcement of law is weak and can facilitate their activity. Tesheira said T&T’s law so far did not make it compulsory for reporting of suspicious transactions since this was being done via moral suasion. However, Tesheira said the Government’s package of anti-corruption legislation—such as the FIU law—will close the gaps, give the law the necessary “legal clothing” (sic) to proceed on the situation and ensure T&T is not seen as a jurisdiction that is facilitative of money laundering. money laundering. Tesheira said she was taken aback when she saw recent police statistics that 2,500 young men had become victims of murder and gang-related crime in four years. “It speaks to the devastating impact of organised crime,” said Tesheira.

    Guardian 1/10/09

  • There are controls for money laundering, but apparently only for small sums.In Jnuary 2009, I attempted to do business with two financial institutions, one being the Unit Trust Corporation. In both cases I had to sign a declaration as to the surce of funds, including giving my bank in the Us from which the funds were withdrawn, as well as the name of the manager of the branch where i do business. This money was mere pocket change, however. So how are the big guys getting away with it? Corruption running rampant through and through the system. There is a famous case that some of usknow about, where a corporate manager was allegedly taking three million in cash (US) out of TnT. The money was tagged by his wife who was mad at him for something. IT was determined by the customs officials that it should be split seven ways. three customs, three immigration, and the owner.
    Now, this might just be mauvais langue, but a number of managers in that state company which now changed its name but is still in the telecommunictions business, would swear that it is true. Some people have been ripping off the country for years. Some time ago, I tried to persuade a young man I know not to pay anyone to get him a drivers licence-He could drive, but the bureaucrats were tellin him to wait two years after passing the test.
    His comment to me was this: “When you go to Licensing, do you EVER see a local white, or a Chinese lining up to take a drivers test? Maybe they take their’s at night you think? Or maybe they have call at home service?”

    Think about that in trying to trace money and so on. Everything in my beloved country seems to be for sale now, including that Immigration Stamp the Israeli living in the Arouca hills hadin his possession, but we allowed Israel to move him outof the country without his answering any questions. How much “laundered” money passed in that deal. Im disgusted. It shows.

  • This means all Policemen in T&T should be armed, especially when they are escorting Prisoner’s to court. That Law Enforcement could not envision such a scenario and structure modalities to deal with it is an indictment of all of those at the head of such organization.

  • Vidya Safiyah C Mohammed

    This is the first time i am actually looking at this website and i must say it depresses me to know that this is what my sweet T&T has come to. I am a born Trini and miss home dearly, now that i live in the USA, but reading all those news feeds makes me feel so angry and disgusted with the Government and even the people of this beautiful island. It’s amazing how the Government can find millons of dollars to hold all sorts of events yet we have unarmed law enforcement escorting prisoner’s, oh wait, i get it, of course they don’t have any guns, the bandits have stollen them, and did i forget to mention how sad it is that people are forced to sell their stamp collections just to make ends meet. Maybe i don’t miss Trinidad after all

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