Gwo Pwele murder trial on
Accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in 2015, the murder trial of Rodman Moses Lewis goes into its second week
The trial of a man charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend is into its second week with the second witness taking the witness stand.
The first witness spent three days on the witness stand, two of these being crossed examined by defence counsel Anthony Commodore.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) charged Rodman Moses Lewis of Goodwill with murder in the death of Tricia Riviere at the Simon Bolivar Housing Scheme at Stock Farm on Tuesday November 3, 2015 sometime after 3:30pm.
State Attorney Sherma Dalrymple in the company of DPP Evelina Baptiste and State Attorney Dayna Matthew led the prosecution for the state before Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts and a jury of five men and four women from Monday October 5, 2020 at the Roseau High Court.
The deceased best friend and friend of the accused, Alana John Baptiste, took the witness stand on Tuesday October 6.
John Baptiste told the court that she and the deceased were friends from when they were about seven years old. They went to the same primary school. The deceased and her boyfriend, Lewis, separated in August 2015 because of a physical fight.
On November 3, Alana John Baptiste left her mother's home on Rawle's Lane, Goodwill to attend the national parade at the Stadium about 8:00am. Alana and her mother returned home about 10:00am. She went for her phone which she had left charging and saw a message from Rodman Lewis saying that he was still in love with Tricia Riviere. He was trying to get over it but it was hard getting over her. He could not live without her and wanted her back. She spoke with Rodman for about 13 minutes and went to sleep.
She woke about two in the afternoon and messaged Lewis. She asked him to help her carry some bags and her child to her home on Cherry Street, Stock Farm which she shared with Tricia. He was not busy and would assist, but he did not want to see Tricia Riviere. Cross examined by Attorney Commodore, Alana said that Lewis had no transportation while her boyfriend had two vehicles, but she could not get him on his phone.
Lewis came to Rawle's Lane after 3:30pm, said the witness, and they left Goodwill walking up to Stock Farm. Lewis's friend came along in a white mini-bus and gave them a ride to Simon Bolivar H S. On Cherry Lane, Alana told Lewis that she would take her bags from there. But he said it was no problem and would assist her to her friend's home. She asked if he was sure based on what he had told her earlier, and he said, yes.
Tricia was outside on the porch with her son.
"I entered first. Rodman Lewis was behind me. I saw Tricia Riviere in a grey vest and black tights. She was sitting on a short chair and a white bench in front of her with school books and pencils. (Her son) was playing at the back of her with a skate board," Alana said.
Alana greeted Tricia and she responded. The accused also greeted Tricia, but she did not respond. Rodman followed her in and put down what he carried and went back outside. Alana went back out for her key which was in a black bag carried by Rodman.
"I heard Mr. Rodman Lewis and Tricia Riviere speaking softly to each other. I could not hear what they were speaking about. I returned to my room and immediately began to put a sheet on my bed," Alana said.
Tricia's and Rodman's son and Alana's one-year-old daughter were also on the porch. Alana received a phone call from her younger sister. She spoke with Tricia. She thanked Rodman for assisting her and asked him to wait for her before he left. She went back to continue fixing her bed.
"I heard a bang. Then I heard a second bang. I heard Tricia Riviere's voice sounding like she wanted to say help, but it was very soft, you couldn't really hear what she was trying to say. I heard a shuffling sound and then the same banging noise.
"I ran to the kitchen where I saw my daughter (and Tricia's son) standing about three feet from the white fridge. The boy was crying for his mother. I saw Mr Rodman Lewis standing above Tricia Riviere. Tricia Riviere was in a horizontal position in the kitchen, her head in a corner of the kitchen and her feet outwards towards the stove. Tricia Riviere was motionless and lying on the ground.
"Mr Rodman Lewis was standing above Ms Riviere and stamping on the side of Tricia Riviere's face with his right boot. I immediately pulled him away by the shoulder and chest. His foot was covered in blood. He went back and stamped on her face again, harder, about three more times. I saw blood coming from her nose. I continued to pull Mr Rodman Lewis to stop. He is killing Tricia. He went back and stamped on her face again, and continued to stamp harder. I started to see blood flowing from the right side of her face. He said: 'I will kill you bitch and I will f..k you!' Blood was splashing everywhere in the kitchen – on the children, on Rodman's clothes including me.
"I tried to pull him one more time. He turned to me, watched me in the eye. I realised he was very angry. He watched me for a second and turned back and continued to stamp on Tricia Riviere."
Alana then grabbed her daughter and ran out on the public road and started screaming: "Help! Help! Rodman is killing Tricia."
She ran to a neighbour's house on the same side of Cherry Lane as Tricia's house and told him what was happening. He went immediately to the house. She saw Rodman and his son come out on the porch. The boy was crying. She called him and he ran to her. She next went across the road by another neighbour until the police came.
Alana gave a statement to the police two days later on November 5
Defense Counsel Anthony Commodore cross-examined the witness on October 7-8.
The state has listed at least 16 witnesses. The second, the neighbour who first responded to the cries of John Baptiste, was likely to be the state's second witness.