3 to face High Court trial for murder of Better Hope moneychanger, daughter
Three men were on Friday committed to stand trial at the High Court in Demerara for the July 4, 2019 murders of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara moneychanger Aaron Latchman and his 19-year-old daughter Arianna Latchman.
After a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) at the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Courts, Magistrate Alisha George ruled that a prima facie case was established against the men at the close of the case for the prosecution. Accordingly, the men were committed to stand trial at the next practicable session of the Demerara Assizes.
To face a Judge and jury are 37-year-old Paul Chan called “Anthony”, a bus conductor of Dennis Street, Sophia, Greater Georgetown; 44-year-old Troy Abrams called “Rasta Man”, a vendor of Middle Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD); and 37-year-old Lloyd Sadloo of Mocha Arcadia, EBD.
Meanwhile, the case against 41-year-old Sean Thomas called “Yankee”, an electrician of William Street, Kitty, Georgetown, who had been jointly charged with the three men, was discharged after the Magistrate upheld a no-case submission made by his lawyer last month.
As such, Thomas was informed that he was free to leave the court.
A fifth accused, 25-year-old Mark Rufina, who escaped from the Lusignan Prison sometime between October 20 and October 21, 2020, remains on the run. Following Rufina’s escape, the PI had been stalled for months, as he was jointly charged along with the others.
The chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later advised the prosecution to remove Rufina’s name from the joint charge, to allow for the matter to proceed against the others.
It was reported that on the day of the murder, both Aaron Latchman and his daughter Arianna had just returned to their Lot 58 Robert Street, Better Hope, East Coast Demerara home when they were attacked by armed men.
It is alleged that the men held the man and his daughter at gunpoint and took them into the upper flat of their home, where they demanded money. Upon receiving a bag that contained an undisclosed amount of cash, the men shot the money changer and his daughter before escaping.
Shortly after, the businessman and his daughter were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.
Sometime later, a motor car that belonged to the dead businessman, which had been used by the bandits, was found at Front Road, La Penitence, Georgetown. During a search of the vehicle, an illegal firearm and several rounds of ammunition were found.
Two of the accused killers – Abrams and Sadloo – had previously been arrested and placed before the court for various offences ranging from robbery under arms to trafficking in narcotics.
Abrams had, in 2016, been found guilty of robbery under arms committed on moneychangers Rayburn Fraser and Osaffo Ward at America Street, Georgetown, on November 3, 2015, and had been sentenced to five years in prison.
Sadloo had, in 2008, been charged with murder. It is unclear at this time what had been the outcome of that matter. However, in 2016, Sadloo had been handed a four-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of trafficking in marijuana. He had also been previously charged with armed robbery and escaping from lawful custody.