Trial starts in Antigua killing of honeymooners

AP News
Posted: Jun 01, 2011 6:40 PM
Trial starts in Antigua killing of honeymooners

Two men went on trial Wednesday in Antigua for an alleged crime spree in July 2008 that included killing a British couple on their honeymoon in the Caribbean island.

A prosecutor told the 12-member jury he would present DNA and other physical evidence against Avie Howell and Kaniel Martin as he outlined his case in a brief opening statement.

Prosecutor Anthony Armstrong urged the jury to judge the case on its merits.

"We do not by this trial seek anyone's blood," he said, referring to the defendants.

Defense lawyers for Howell and Martin chose not to give opening statements and the trial began with witnesses that included friends of the defendants who claimed to have seen them together after Catherine and Benjamin Mullany of Wales were shot during an apparent robbery in their cottage at the Cocos Hotel.

Loretta Ephraim, an EMT who responded to the shooting, testified that she found Catherine Mullany on the floor and Benjamin Mullany in bed. Both were shot several times in the head, she said.

Benjamin Mullany was critically wounded in the attack and died a week after his wife after he had been taken back to Britain for treatment.

Howell and Martin are also charged with killing a Jamaican shopkeeper Waneta Anderson Walker and are expected to face a later trial in two other homicides.

The suspects face the death penalty if convicted, although no one in Antigua has been executed for at least 20 years.