Monday, June 24, 2024

Shandoy Jeffords found guilty of manslaughter; Security guard Antonio Almandarez killed in 2005


On Thursday May 31st the case regarding the killing of 50 year old Antonio Almandarez ended with a witness, now suspect found guilty of manslaughter.

Alamandarez who was a security guard at Fido’s Courtyard located in the downtown area of San Pedro Town, was beaten to death on the morning of July 25, 2005 during a burglary. Police had originally charged Luis Lalin, Bernard Elvis “Dragon” Williams and Austin Mungia with the crime but in 2007 all three men were eventually freed of charges after the main witness, Shandoy Jeffords, did not testify in court.

Later, in 2008 the Director of Public Prosecution ordered the arrest of witness Jeffords who was  then charged for manslaughter and burglary.  During the case Prosecutor Shamilla Williams depended on a ‘caution statement’ given by Jeffords, which was deemed admissible by Judge Adolph Lucas following a voir dire. Jefford detailed in his statement that he and a friend known as ‘Dragon’ waited on the beach for Fido’s to close then moved in on Almendarez.

According to Jeffords, Almendarez was restrained with his own handcuffs and that Dragon hit Almendarez several times on the head with a crow bar. Jeffords claims he simply stood and watched as Almendarez was then dragged behind the bar. He says that he eventually ran off not knowing the guard was already dead. While he implicated himself in the caution statement, Jeffords told the court that senior police officer at the time Chester Williams, threatened to charge him for murder. Jeffords further went on to claim that Williams promised to help him since he is the brother of a police sergeant. Jeffords told the judge that Williams then coached him on what to say.

In summing up the case, trial Judge Adolph Lucas advised the jury that if they had doubts about the caution statement given by Jeffords to disregard it. The judge also noted that the police claimed that Jeffords willingly offered to speak on August 13, 2005 but the statement was not recorded until the following day. After deliberation, which lasted almost four hours, two jurors believed Jeffords was innocent while seven believed he was guilty. With that, a guilty verdict for both manslaughter and burglary was delivered. Sentencing has been deferred until June 6th.

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