Press Release re R v Gary Thomas et al for Murder of Kentucky Kid Hill



RE:  R v Gary Thomas, Uriel Anderson, Norval Warren, Donovan Brown and Marvia Morgan for Murder (of Robert “Kentucky Kid” Hill)


1.     A formal verdict of “Not Guilty” was returned today by a twelve man jury in respect of all five (5) persons accused of the murder of Robert Hill when the learned trial judge, Mrs. Justice Carol Lawrence-Beswick directed them after the Crown—represented by myself and a Deputy DPP—offered no evidence against the accused persons—represented by Mrs. Valerie Neita-Robertson, Mrs. Carolyn Reid-Cameron, Mr. Peter Champagnie, Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown Q.C., and Mr. Hugh Faulkner. Herein follow the reasons for this decision.



2.     The matter was originally investigated by the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) and thereafter by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM). A file was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for a ruling. Following a ruling dated the 9th June 2010 indicating that no one be criminally charged, the file was referred to the Coroner’s Court for an Inquest into the circumstances that led to the death of Robert Hill.


3.     The Coroner’s Inquest commenced on the 25th November 2011 and concluded on the 24th July 2014, after sixteen (16) witnesses deponed and were examined by several attorneys as well as the Coroner, in the presence of a jury. The jury found that all five (5) accused persons were criminally responsible for the death of Robert Hill. The accused persons comprised of three (3) police officers, a male civilian (the cousin of the deceased) and a female civilian (former neighbour of the deceased).


4.     Following the Inquest, a warrant was prepared by the Coroner for all five (5) accused persons to be charged for murder; the DPP prepared the indictment as obligated so to do under the Coroners Act.


5.     The allegations were that on the 8th December 2009, the three (3) police officers were dispatched by a senior officer to retrieve an illegal firearm from the now deceased, who lived at Ivy Green Mews, St. Andrew.


6.     Upon their arrival at approximately 9:10 pm, a man, the now deceased, was seen coming from the front of a vehicle parked on the premises. Constable Thomas alighted from the service vehicle followed by the Constable Warren. Corporal Anderson had not yet exited the vehicle. Constable Thomas called out “Police!” whereupon the man pointed a firearm in the direction of the police and opened fire on the police party. Both Constables Thomas and Warren returned fire; Corporal Anderson did not discharge his firearm. The deceased, having been shot, was approached and the firearm retrieved by the police. He was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead.


7.     The incriminated officers submitted their firearms for ballistics testing and also submitted to gunshot residue (GSR) swabbing. The hands of the deceased were also swabbed for GSR and the firearm recovered from him was also submitted for ballistics testing.


8.     On the 15th December 2009, Donovan Brown, the fourth named accused, gave his first written statement in relation to the incident, indicating that two weeks before the incident he had visited Robert Hill at his home when Hill showed him a gun and informed him of a particular negative intent.  


9.     Thereafter, Brown contacted Crime Stop and reported the existence of the gun to the telephone responder. The arrangements made during that telephone call regarding recovery of the gun never materialized. By the 7th December, he had made additional contact with 119 and the Cross Roads Police. On that day he got a number from another cousin’s wife which held the promise of a confidential handling of the matter.


10.  On the 8th December, Hill visited him and made certain assertions regarding the police’s inability to find the secreted firearm. Consequently, Brown renewed his efforts to contact the police.


11.   According to Brown, at the time of the incident on the 8th December, Hill was still in possession of the illegal firearm. He observed him walk in the direction of his parked van at the same time police officers drove on to his premises.


12.  However, on the 4th April 2014, almost 5 months after he had deposed in the Coroner’s Inquest, Brown gave a statement to INDECOM in which it was observed that material changes and omissions were made to his first statement to BSI, the initial investigators.


13.  In relation to the female accused, Marvia Morgan, her statement had revealed a perception that she was the subject of unwelcomed affections from the deceased, which rose to her being stalked. She made several reports to the police. Up to the time of his death the situation concerning Mr. Hill remained unresolved. She was home the evening he met his unfortunate demise.


Post Mortem Examination Report

14.  The Post Mortem Examination Report of Dr. Dinesh Rao disclosed two gunshot injuries to the deceased: the fatal injury, wound number one, present over the front of the right shoulder, and wound number two, present over the lateral (side) aspect of the hip. Dr. Rao deponed at the Inquest that, “It was most likely the bullet in wound number one (the fatal wound) was fired with the deceased facing the shooter”


Forensic Report

15.  The Forensic Certificate of Ms. Marcia Dunbar which certified the results of the swabbing of the deceased’s hand’s disclosed the presence of gunshot residue at trace levels on the front of the right hand and back of the left hand. At the Inquest Ms. Dunbar deponed that, “I would not say that based on my scientific test, the results do not suggest that the dead individual did not fire a firearm. He could have fired a firearm…”


Ballistics Report

16.  Government Ballistics Expert Superintendent Sydney Porteous (Ret’d.) examined the three (3) service weapons assigned to the three (3) officers along with the .38 Special Smith and Wesson revolver recovered from the deceased. Also examined were two (2) .38 special expended and three (3) unexpended cartridges. Upon examination and testing the expert found that the unexpended cartridges were .38 special cartridges and the expended cartridges were fired from the .38 revolver which was in good working condition. When questioned about his findings regarding the .38 revolver recovered from Robert Hill he deponed, “…it would be fair to say that this firearm was fired at least twice.”


17.  At the Inquest, the three (3) officers remained resolute in their account of defending themselves from an attack by “Kentucky Kid.” Brown, in his deposition, was consistent with his original statement asserting previous knowledge of the deceased’s illegal possession of a firearm. Morgan did not depone at the Inquest.


18.  Pursuant to our constitutional responsibilities to assess the viability of prosecuting a criminal case, we critically examined the content of the statements, the content of the Inquest depositions, and the law on murder. In so doing we found that not only would it have been impossible to mount a viable case, it would have been unethical to do so as a prosecutor, given our appreciation of the available material and the law. For clarity, the following is noted:


•        The only witnesses to fact, on what would form the Crown’s case, would have been the accused. There would be no witnesses as to fact for the prosecution.


•        The legal issue of self defense could not be negatived on the Crown’s case as there was no evidence to contradict the accounts of the accused persons and the independent scientific evidence. 


•        The independent scientific evidence supported the accounts given by the police and in all the circumstances did not admit of any other conclusion.


•        Efforts to discredit the accused persons at the Inquest did not unearth any new material/evidence to support a viable case of murder.


•        There are no witnesses or any other material rising above suspicion supporting a conspiracy to murder Robert Hill or evidence of murder.


19.  We note that it was some five (5) months after Mr. Brown had completed his deposition at the Inquest that he gave a statement to INDECOM dated the 4th April 2014 asserting another version, suggesting the police would have had no reason to visit the home of the deceased on the 8th December 2009. However, in these circumstances, without any explanation for the grave discrepancies and departure from his original account, the issues surrounding his credibility would have been almost impossible to overcome.


20.  We will always pay due regard and respect to other stakeholders in the administration of justice, including the Coroner and the jury. However, as prosecutors we have an ethical duty and stated principles by which we must abide when deciding to go forward with or end a prosecution. To act otherwise, in circumstances such as these, would have been a dereliction of our duty.




21.  Although we are sensitive to the sentiments of the public, our professional decision as prosecutors has to be unfettered by prejudice or sympathy. It was our clear duty in these circumstances to offer no evidence in respect of each accused.


22.  I trust that the issues have been properly illuminated.



Paula V. Llewellyn, Q.C.

Director of Public Prosecutions

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