DPP to decide on way forward for PI in murder of moneychanger, daughter
…as accused killer still on the run
Advice is being sought from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on how to proceed with the preliminary inquiry (PI) into the murder of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara moneychanger Aaron Latchman and his daughter Arian Latchman, after one of the accused on remand for the murder escaped from the Lusignan Prison.
Jointly charged for the capital offence are: 25-year-old Mark Rufino, a labourer of Parika Facade, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), the prison escapee who remains on the run; 37-year-old Paul Chan, called “Long Hair” or “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); 37-year-old Lloyd Sadloo of Mocha Arcadia, EBD; and 41-year-old Sean Thomas, called “Yankee”, an electrician of William Street, Kitty, Georgetown.
Rufino escaped from the Holding Bay at the Lusignan Prison between October 20 and October 21, 2020. During a court hearing in late December 2020, the Police prosecutor was granted one month’s leave to seek advice on how to proceed with the matter.
Magistrate Alisha George, presiding at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, had instructed the prosecutor to have advice in the matter by Friday. However, when the matter was called on Friday, the prosecutor requested another adjournment, which was met with serious objections from defence counsel. The lawyers for the other murder accused are calling for the escapee’s name to be struck off of the joint charge, and for the court to proceed with the PI against the other accused.
Magistrate George has adjourned the matter to Monday, February 1, 2021, for the prosecutor to report the legal advice to the court.
According to Police reports, on that fateful day, the father and daughter had just returned to their Lot 58 Robert Street, Better Hope, East Coast Demerara home when they were attacked by armed men. Holding Latchman and his 19-year-old daughter at gunpoint, the alleged robbers took the duo into the upper flat of the Latchman house, where they demanded money.
After receiving a bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash, the men then shot the duo before escaping from the scene in a white Toyota Carina 212 motor car which was parked some distance away.
Neighbours reported hearing gunshots and rushed to the victims’ assistance. The father and daughter were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Post-mortem examinations conducted on the bodies revealed that the father was shot thrice, while his daughter received one fatal gunshot wound.
A motor car that belonged to the dead businessman but was 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 murderers – Abrams and Sadloo – are characters known to the Police and the courts. Abrams was convicted in 2016 for two counts of robbery committed against America Street money changers Rayburn Fraser and Osaffo Ward. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for that offence.
Sadloo, who is said to be the alleged mastermind of the double murder, had a murder case discharged against him in 2012, but was later convicted in 2016 for narcotics’ trafficking. The convict made another court appearance in 2018, when he was facing several armed robbery charges. He is currently before the court on charges of illegal possession of guns and ammunition.