`Death Squad’ witness killing: Key suspect held
-- charges likely soon
Guyana Chronicle
July 2, 2004

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THE special police team investigating the George Bacchus killing appeared set to close the case last night with the arrest of a key suspect and charges are likely soon, possibly today, sources said.

A city businesswoman linked to a man charged with killing Bacchus’ younger brother Shafeek in January this year, was detained by police yesterday following the reported confession of another central suspect in the case.

Police would not confirm reports that the suspect confessed Wednesday to killing Bacchus after he helped them find a gun in a dung heap in the yard where Bacchus lived.

A brief press release said a firearm which may have been used to kill Bacchus had been recovered and was subject to scientific tests. Police said scientific tests were also done on suspects.

Bacchus, the self-confessed `death squad’ informant, was shot three times in the head and body with a .38 gun while he was in bed just before 03:00 hrs last week Thursday.

Two close relatives who lived with Bacchus at the four-storey house in Princes Street, Lodge, Georgetown, were among those still in police custody yesterday. They have emerged as central figures in the probe.

Police said more than 50 persons were questioned and 19 arrested. The release said several homes were also searched during the probe.

The evidence gathered by the investigating team is to be reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecution for advice on how to proceed, a source said yesterday.

An employee of Bacchus has reportedly confessed to the killing and the city businesswoman who had been questioned before, was rearrested yesterday by the police after her name was called regarding an intended payment to the killer.

Reports said the man who has admitted to shooting Bacchus, was employed by the Bacchus family as a handyman and slept in a hammock on the property.

The man was described as a loyal friend to Bacchus until they had a recent falling out.

Unconfirmed reports said Bacchus’ killer also alleged that a close relative let him into the building and had left the door to Bacchus’ bedroom open.

This would explain how the killer got access to the building and why several dogs, including a pit bull which Bacchus kept in the yard, did not bark on the morning of the killing, sources said.

Bacchus was the key witness against two men – Ashton King and Shawn Hinds – charged with killing his brother Shafeek in a drive-by shooting outside the Princess Street residence on January 5.

A preliminary inquiry into the murder charge against the two is under way.

A third man held in that case, Mark `Kerzorkee’ Thomas, died in hospital a short while after he was arrested.

After his brother’s murder, George Bacchus went to the media and the United States Embassy with allegations that Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj had started a `Phantom Squad’ that targetted known and dangerous criminals in order to stem the crime wave unleashed after the February 23 jailbreak in 2002.

Gajraj has denied the charges.

Bacchus was buried yesterday with mainly relatives present.

His coffin was taken to La Repentir Cemetery, Georgetown, for burial in an already prepared tomb after his body was briefly displayed at the Sandy’s Funeral Parlour.

While at the funeral parlour, pockets of people who had only learnt of the funeral a short while before, poured in to get a glimpse of the body amidst prayers and songs.

A few of his relatives who were present said very little.

A minibus loaded with mainly women `street protesters’, rushed to the cemetery just before the burial.

They chanted loudly, asking the officiating preacher, “Oh! Leh we see him, nah. We does protest and mek noise fuh yuh, George, how yuh go do we suh?”

Bacchus was placed in a tomb next to one in which his brother was buried.