|TRINI ON TRIPLE MURDER CHARGES |
By Andre Bagoo Saturday, August 24 2013
A TRINIDADIAN wanted in the United States (US) for the killing of three youths in a shooting spree outside a Boston house party four years ago was seized by US marshals and escorted on a flight which left Piarco just after midnight yesterday.
Keron Pierre was 23 years old at the time of the shooting incident.
Now 27, Pierre stepped nervously onto United Airlines Flight 1506 en route to face charges of murdering Brockton residents Shakora Gaines, 20, and Chantal Palmer, 20, as well as Anthony Peoples, 19, of Boston.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of the Attorney General, Pierre was due to land at Newark, New Jersey, before arriving in Boston, this morning. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in court on Monday.
The midnight extradition was the culmination of a process which saw Pierre, originally from Richplain, Diego Martin, slip through the fingers of US authorities after the 2009 incidents; enter Trinidad and Tobago at some stage without apparently being flagged and then launch a lengthy legal battle in the local courts after being discovered here, a battle which lasted almost four years but finally ended in June this year.
At the time of the events, Pierre was in the US reportedly on a green card and was, ironically, in the process of applying for US citizenship.
The triple murders are said to have taken place on March 29, 2009, outside a house party in Boston. It is alleged that Pierre and some of his friends were hanging out on the sidewalk in front of the house party when a car pulled up with four persons: Anthony Peoples, Shakora Gaines, Chantal Palmer and Sharon Headley.
The four friends had reportedly left the house party when they realised that they had forgotten another friend behind. They had just pulled up in a car to the house party to pick up their friend when they met with Pierre and his group. Following a verbal altercation between the occupants of the car and a member of Pierre’s group, it is alleged that Pierre pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and began firing into the car.
Peoples, Gaines and Palmer were shot several times about their bodies and succumbed to their gunshot wounds. Headley was the sole surviving occupant of the car.
Pierre was indicted in the US about ten months later on January 12, 2010, on three counts of murder, one count of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. By this time, however, he had gone off the radar and the indictment was therefore done in absentia.
After later discovering that Pierre had in fact returned to Trinidad, US authorities formally requested extradition. Extradition proceedings were conducted before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in 2011 and the accused was ordered extradited by the Chief Magistrate. He lost an appeal before High Court judge Justice James Aboud on September 28, 2012.
His team of lawyers, led by Keith Scotland, later filed another appeal with the Court of Appeal. However, that appeal was withdrawn in June this year.
Following the lengthy extradition proceedings, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan signed the extradition order on July 31, 2013, which cleared the way for Pierre to be extradited to the United States to stand trial.
“The Attorney General, through the Central Authority, liaised closely with officials in the US
Department of Justice and also with officials from the local branch of Interpol to facilitate a smooth and unhindered extradition,” the Ministry of the Attorney General said in its press release.
Pierre’s attorney Keith Scotland, in an interview from St Vincent, yesterday said there was no bar to the extradition as no legal proceedings were pending. Scotland indicated that he intends, however, to file submissions with US authorities over a possible life sentence without parole which Pierre faces.
There is no death penalty in Boston which is in the state of Massachusetts.
However there has been recent talk there of re-instating capital punishment in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year.