By Anita Nembhard
Free Lance Reporter
Two men walked away from murder charges on Thursday, May 28, after Supreme Court Justice, Troadio Gonzalez handed in a not guilty verdict.
The incident in question occurred on February 1, 2010, after a barrage of bullets intended for one man caught other innocents in the area, killing one, and crippling another, leaving the intended target unharmed.
Judge Gonzalez handed down his ruling regarding a no-case submission made by the men’s attorneys, Oscar Selgado, who represented Austin Underwood and Kathleen Lewis who represented Phillip Wallace.
That ruling stated that the men had no case to answer to and Gonzalez directed the 12-member jury of eight men and four women to return a verdict of not guilty shortly before 10 a.m., setting both men free of murder.
The no case submission resulted after the crown’s main witness, Jason Reynolds, was declared a hostile witness. This, after he resisted all statements and questions put to him, saying he cannot recall or remember giving police any statement or even telling police he was shot that day.
He also stated he did not know the two men involved, yet his 2010 statement claimed he knew them well, since they all attended Wesley Upper School.
In the end, he left the witness stand saying he did not know Wallace or Underwood – leaving prosecuters little evidence to go on.
With no identification of the two accused men being established, the charge could not be sustained and both men were acquitted of the charge of murder, setting them free after more than five years on remand.
The 2010 shooting occurred on Central American Boulevard and took the life of Darrell Williams Jr., a former student of Gwen Lizarraga High School who was shot once over the left eye. He was pronounced brain dead, forcing his family to take him off life support the next day.
As many as 30 bullets were fired during the shooting and three other innocent bystanders were injured in the melee.
Robert Howard, Stephen Rhamdas, an elderly man, and nine year-old Grace Primary student, Janay Moguel, Rhamdas’ granddaughter, were all shot in the massive attack.. The injury left Moguel crippled . She has had to live her life confined to a wheelchair.
Both Wallace and Underwood were initially charged with the murder of Williams and faced three counts of attemped murder upon Robert Howard, Stephen Rhamdas, and Janay Moguel.