Man acquitted of murder dies in hail of bullets

HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) –  Police said a 29-year-old man, who fainted in Supreme Court last month after being cleared by a jury of murder, was killed in a hail of bullets on Sunday.

They had described Prince Edness as a “self-confessed drug dealer and gang member”.

Witnesses said that Edness, who was shot in the normally quiet neighbourhood in Southampton parish, appeared to have fled into the yard of a residence, where he was shot.

They reported hearing between four and six shots, followed by several motorbikes leaving the area.

“It sounded like six shots, a succession of pop, pop, pop, and then all these bikes drove off,” said a woman who lived near the scene.

Police said that two gunmen on a motorcycle also fired at an unarmed police officer, disabling his car, as they fled the scene of Edness’ shooting. The officer was not injured.The search continues for the two assailants.

Acting Assistant Commissioner James Howard said the victim was believed to have had a verbal altercation with his killers just before the shooting.

Edness was recently found not guilty of the premeditated murder in 2006 of Jason Lightbourne in a high-profile Supreme Court case in which authorities mustered an unusually intense level of security.

During that trial, Edness admitted to selling drugs but denied any gang involvement, but he had been repeatedly identified by police as a prominent member of a Hamilton gang.

Edness had been the victim of gun violence before. He was injured in a shooting in August 2008 and again in August 2010. He was jailed in 2011 after being found guilty of assault.

“Coming from where we have come from since May 2009 when gun violence escalated, it’s fair to say that tit-for-tat violence is a very real phenomenon. We guard against that,” said Acting Police Commissioner Paul Wright when asked if he believed the murder would set off an escalation of gun violence.

 

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