Saturday, 11 June 2011

Gang member David Cox was today convicted by a jury of the brutal assassination of Raymond ‘Yankee' Rawlins.

Cox, 31, was one of two gunmen who shot Mr Rawlins 16 times as he entered a nightclub in his Court Street neighbourhood early last August 9.

The jury convicted Cox of the slaying by unanimous verdict. He was also convicted of using a gun to commit the crime, and now faces a life sentence.

Speaking after the verdict Assistant Police Commissioner David Mirfield said: "We've put a very dangerous man behind bars.

"Make no mistake that Bermuda is a safer place today now that Mr Cox has been convicted of this murder."

Cox was brought to justice thanks to an eyewitness who recognised his face, and damning forensic evidence linking him to the crime.

According to prosecutors, the murder was committed by the 42 gang to exact retribution against the Parkside gang for an attack earlier that night on a 42 member.

Cox was named by police gang expert Sergeant Alexander Rollin during his trial as a member of 42. He was hanging out at the gang's Mid Atlantic Boat Club haunt on the night in question when his friend and fellow gang member Julian Washington was shot and injured.

Mr Rawlins, a 47-year-old father of eight, was shot dead less than an hour later. According to Sgt Rollin, the victim had links to the Parkside and Middletown gangs, who are locked in a deadly feud with 42.

The officer told the jury an act of disrespect against one gang, such as the shooting of Mr Washington, would prompt revenge against a member of the rival gang.

The key witness in the prosecution case against Cox was Michael Parsons, who described himself as Cox's lifelong friend. Mr Parsons was also good friends with Mr Rawlins.

The victim was walking into Mr Parsons' 31st birthday party at the Spinning Wheel nightclub on Court Street when Cox and his accomplice burst in and gunned him down.

Mr Parsons was just feet away when Mr Rawlins was murdered. He said although Cox was wearing a rain jacket with the hood pulled down to cover his face, he recognised him by his eyes.

Mr Parsons was unable to provide a description of the second gunman, who remains at large.

The jury in the case heard the seconds leading up to the murder were captured on CCTV cameras at the Spinning Wheel, although the actual slaying occurred out of shot.

The ten women and two men of the panel watched the chilling footage, showing how Cox and his accomplice chased the victim into the club.

Cox grabbed his shoulder to get his attention before he shot him from behind and the second gunman joined in.

Expert CCTV analyst Clive Burchett said Cox appeared to be wearing latex gloves and a baseball cap underneath the hood of his jacket.

Police officer Terry Trott described how a member of the crowd gathered on Court Street after the shooting pointed him in the direction of a baseball cap.

The unknown crowd member stated the cap had been worn by the gunman. Later, forensic tests showed Cox's DNA was present on the cap, along with gunshot residue.

Similar forensic evidence linked him to a latex glove found in trash at a home in the 42 gang's St Monica's Road heartland, where Cox admitted to hanging out.

The jury also heard evidence from gun expert Dennis McGuire. By examining shells from the scene of Mr Rawlins' murder, he identified the two guns used.

The automatic firearm used by Cox had also been used in five other unsolved shootings including the murders of James Lawes on Dundonald Street in March 2010 and Kimwandae Walker at Victor Scott School playing field in April 2010.

The revolver wielded by Cox's accomplice has been linked to three other shootings, including two attempted murders. It was located by police in December 2010, lying in bushes by a roadside in the 42 gang area.

Cox and his accomplice were driven to and from the murder scene in a small green Diahatsu car. This had been stolen in the 42 gang area three days before, and was found there by police hours after the killing.

The getaway driver in the crime also remains at large.

Cox, of Smith's, turned himself in to the police in the hours after the murder but protested his innocence throughout the investigation and trial.

He has a violent criminal history dating back to his teenage years and is due to be sentenced for the murder later.


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