Gang murder a ‘case of mistaken identity’

  • Star witness: Troy Harris (File photograph)

A former gang member and childhood friend of murder accused Khyri Smith-Williams told a jury yesterday that alleged victim Colford Ferguson died because of a case of mistaken identity.

Troy Harris said that Mr Smith-Williams, a senior figure in the West End’s Money Over Bitches gang, had confessed to him his involvement in the gun killing of Colford Ferguson seven years ago.

However, he added that Mr Smith-Williams had told him it was another man, Rasheed Muhammad, who pulled the trigger and that the wrong man had been killed.

Mr Harris told the court that Mr Ferguson died as he worked on a construction site in Somerset because Mr Muhammad had given the wrong information to the defendant.

He said that the intended target was Jakai Morris, whom he claimed was part of the rival Parkside gang in Pembroke.

Mr Harris told the court: “Khyri was riding and then Rasheed shot the boy. Khyri didn’t shoot this guy, Rasheed shot this guy.

“He shot Colford. Colford was good people, he was cool people. He was an innocent person.

“Rasheed brought the wrong information and made things go all sideways.”

He added: “If you tell us there’s some Parkside guy in the area, everyone gets strapped up.”

He said Mr Smith-Williams was a “three-star general” in MOB and that Mr Muhammad held similar status.

Mr Ferguson, 29, a father of one, was shot while he worked on a house near the junction of Somerset’s Mangrove Bay Road and East Shore Road in February 2011.

Mr Smith-Williams, 27, is charged with premeditated murder and the use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence. He denies both charges.

Mr Harris said he was also a witness in the murder trial after the shooting of his wheelchair-bound cousin Lorenzo Stovell.

The witness, who now lives in Britain with his daughter, told Carrington Mahoney, the prosecutor, that he was motivated to speak out because he wanted to turn his life around.

Mr Harris also outlined what he said was the structure and rules of gang life.

He claimed that gangs avoided attacks that involved innocent bystanders and that “serious work” had to be put in by members to climb the ranks.

But he said the “rules and regulations” of gang life had been violated in the case of Mr Ferguson.

Mr Harris told the court: “I wanted to change my life — all the madness — I’ve been in it for 14 years.

“They have no idea what we go through on the streets. All the funerals I have been to, all the times I have been shot at and shot — I had to get as far away from the country as I could.

“I have a daughter. I packed up and took her — it’s what I had to do to clear my conscience.”

Mr Harris added: “Secondly, there are rules and regulations when it comes to this war.

“We don’t shoot mothers. We don’t shoot women. We don’t shoot children. We don’t shoot someone in a f***ing wheelchair and we don’t shoot innocent people. We don’t shoot innocent motherf*****s — what’s the point? You wasted bullets for nothing.”

Mr Harris denied he had any other motive for revealing details of Mr Smith-Williams’s confession.

He told the court that the defendant had shown him an Instagram picture of Rasheed Muhammad while they sat at Mr Smith-Williams’s Somerset home.

He added that the defendant had said he was not “feeling him” any more because of his mistake in identification.

Mr Harris said: “He told me he thought it was Jakai Morris — they had beef because Jakai got shot in the leg in Somerset.”

He added that Mr Smith-Williams and Mr Muhammad “suited up” in dark clothing and travelled on a black motorcycle to Mr Ferguson’s workplace.

Mr Harris said that membership of a gang was “like being in a prison but you are not in prison”.

He added that trespassing on another gang’s territory would get rivals killed.

Mr Harris admitted he had committed crimes over the years.

He said: “That’s how we survive — we can’t come to town and get a job. You sell drugs — you can do nothing else.”

Mr Harris told Jerome Lynch, Mr Smith-Williams’s defence counsel, that he had once set out to kill another gang-linked figure, Prince Edness, but that someone else had shot him first.

He said someone he identified in court as “Bigs” had approached him about the proposed attack on Mr Edness and given him a weapon.

He said: “He didn’t ask me to go kill him, but he knew I wanted to kill Prince because he was caught up in the case with my cousin, Jason Lightbourne.”

Mr Harris said he had two conversations with Mr Smith-Williams about the murder of Mr Ferguson — one in prison and one after his release when the pair were drinking at the defendant’s home.

Mr Lynch said Mr Harris detailed only the second confession in his second interview with police.

Mr Lynch said: “I’m suggesting that you have changed your evidence from the first interview to the second because you knew he was not at prison at the same time as you and, if he was, it was for a matter of days and possibly he was in a different wing.”

However, Mr Harris insisted that the discussion in prison did happen, but he did not feel the need to discuss it because he had already done so in his first police interview.

He added: “Me and Khyri were in the same wing. We smoked weed together.”

The trial continues.

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