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Cousins freed of murder after 14 years in prison
Two cousins who spent 14 years awaiting trial on a murder charge were freed on Tuesday after a jury took less than two hours to find them not guilty of the offence.
Bobby Ramlogan and Ryan Ranoo, who was 18-years-old when he was charged, walked out of the San Fernando High Court free men at the end of the three-month trial.
They went on trial in April before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine in the First Criminal Assizes charged with the murder of Ramlogan’s father Tommy Ramlogan, 69.
The victim, a former Caroni (1975) Ltd employee, was fatally shot in the living room of his Cipero Road, Jordon Hill, Princes Town home on November 6, 2003. He was shot once in his chest.
The State’s case led by attorneys Shabaana Shah and Stacy Laloo-Chong was based on an alleged statement Ranoo gave to the police confessing that he and Ramlogan committed the murder.
The State also relied on forensic evidence which found gunpowder residue on Ramlogan’s left hand.
Neither Ramlogan nor Ranoo gave evidence.
However, Ramlogan’s defence put forward by his attorneys Cedric Neptune and Marissa Bubb was that his father, who had received VSEP earlier that year, was killed during a home invasion.
Ramlogan, then 29, said he and his parents had already retired to bed when around 10.30 pm he was awoken by a knock on the door. He said an intruder then kicked in the front door. When his father came out of his (father) bedroom with a spear, Ramlogan said the intruder shot his father and demanded money and jewellery.
Ramlogan claimed the intruder went after his mother after she ran back into his room. Ramlogan said he ran out of the house and went by a neighbour to get help.
Ramlogan said his mother jumped through a window and sought help from another neighbour.
The State’s case was that on October 14, the following year, Ranoo, who lived next door, gave police the statement allegedly confessing to the murder.
However, Ranoo’s defence presented by his attorneys Tara Thompson and Peter Carter was that he did not confess to the murder and he only signed the statement because the police told him they would let him go.
He claimed the police also told him that they were after Ramlogan and not him. Ramlogan was also arrested on that day but both men were released two days later.
They were subsequently rearrested on October 27, 2004, and charged the following day.
Ramlogan’s attorneys suggested that the gunpowder residue got on his left hand when he was shaking his father’s dead body in an attempt to wake him up.
The defence claimed the police failed to properly secure the crime scene which got contaminated. Ramlogan is also right-handed, the jury heard. The jury found them not guilty after deliberating for an hour and 40 minutes.
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