Policeman Charged With Murder Seven Years After Fatal Shootings

A member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who was accused of the execution style killing of two men in St. Catherine seven years ago was charged today.

Constable Michael Lawrence has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of wounding, following a ruling by INDECOM and the Director of Public Prosecutions. He appeared in the St. Catherine Parish Court where he was offered bail in the sum of $750,000. He was ordered to surrender his travel documents and report to the Office of the Commissioner of Police three times weekly. A stop order was placed on him.

Prosecutors told the court that on March 26, 2011 Richard Ellis and Michael Smith were shot dead during a confrontation with the police along the Williamsfield Road in Riversdale, St Catherine. Two other men were shot in the incident.

It was reported that Constable Lawrence and another policeman stopped a vehicle in which the men were travelling. The men reportedly alighted from the vehicle and pointed guns at them. The four men were shot. Ellis and Smith were pronounced dead at hospital. Three illegal guns were reportedly found inside the vehicle.

The two survivors told investigators that they were taken from the vehicle, handcuffed and placed face down on the road. They reported that the police stood over them and opened fire. During the bail hearing Defence Attorney Peter Champagnie said the result of the post mortem revealed that the men were shot in the front of their bodies.

The DPP ruled that the other policeman also be charged but the court was told that he now lives overseas.

Constable Lawrence is to return to court on November 29.

By Franklin McKnight

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