Seven months after he asked for protection after witnessing the death of a policeman in Richplain, Diego Martin, a 30-year-old man was gunned down at a house in Morvant.
Police said Jehlano Romney, 30, was at a house in Poinsettia Drive, at around 9.35 pm when a group of gunmen shot him several times before running away.
A woman who was nearby was shot in the face.
Police from the North Eastern Division Task Force took the wounded woman to the hospital.
Police from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II visited the scene with a district medical officer, who declared Romney dead.
On April 22, a team of 12 officers from the Western Division Task Force went to a staircase on Upper Rich Plain Road, Diego Martin, where they confronted Romney.
During the incident PC Clarence Gilkes, who was part of this group, was shot and killed, as Romney ran away.
While the original account given by police claimed Romney shot Gilkes, an autopsy later revealed that Gilkes was shot from behind with a police-issued bullet.
Romney spent almost a week in hiding before surrendering to police with his attorney Criston J Williams.
He was questioned and later released.
Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Williams said his client asked the police for protection while they were interviewing him, but they never offered protection.
He attributed Romney’s murder to the lack of protection and said his death was not reassuring to citizens who were willing to assist police in their investigations.
“It sends the message to the public that maybe I should not be a good citizen to hold anyone accountable, because I may not be protected.
“It was the fault of the police because no protective measures were offered to him, and as far as I’m aware, his death may have been a direct result of this.
“I know he was not a saint, he may have been a sinner and he tried to change his life and not being offered witness protection and being placed back in your original environment, you may have to act like a cornered animal to protect yourself.”
Williams said Romney asked officers of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations to put him in witness protection while members of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) were present.
Asked how the case would progress with the main witness in the case now dead, Williams said Romney entered a statement before his death.
Under the amended Evidence Act, a dead witness’s statement can still be entered as evidence and can lead to a criminal prosecution.
Williams added that Romney had two cases against the police for false imprisonment.
Newsday tried to contact acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob for comment several times on Tuesday but was unsuccessful.
Romney’s mother and other relatives visited the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Monday to identify his body and speak to police investigators.
They declined to comment.
Newsday also visited the family at their Richplain home shortly afterwards, where they also declined to comment.
Newsday tried to contact director of the PCA David West via phone call and WhatsApp but was unsuccessful up to press time.
Police in the Western Division said homicide detectives were still trying to establish a motive for Romney’s murder, but suspect it may have been a reprisal for gang-related murders in Diego Martin.
He also denied the police were responsible for his murder.
“His name was calling in the death of a few people so he had a lot of enemies and it’s no secret because gang reprisals are real.
“I know there are people who are trying to make it out that the police killed him, given everything that happened to PC Gilkes, but the truth is, the police weren’t anywhere near that.”