Monday, 27 August 2012 02:30
By Rawlston Pompey
This is a prelude to “…THE STORY AS NEVER BEEN TOLD.” It is based on personal experience, encounter and interactions with a "...murder suspect."
MONIQUE RAMSEY, deceased; innocent, unsuspecting youth in her mid-twenties, had been the unfortunate victim of a horrifying criminal act.
She was “…gone forever.” Her life had been snuffed out by a man she had seemingly showered with “…genuine love.” Her memory lives on. Consequently, a grief-stricken and distraught family was left to endure a lifetime of “…anguish.” Thus, since her tragic loss, it had been an irreparably shattered and agonizingly painful life for the bereaved family. RONALD GEDERON, then 33 years, accused, was discharged from “…legal confinement,” some eighteen years after the horrendous incident. He had served an appreciable portion of a custodial sentence, justifiably imposed upon him for her untimely death. In spite of a High Court ruling for his immediate release from confinement, it had sparked controversy, seemingly stemming from “…official miscalculations” of the time to be served in confinement.DEATH PENALTY
At trial in 1995, he was unanimously convicted of “…murder” and ordered the mandatory sentence of death. Given the recent Jamaican case of “…Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan ,” practice directions laid down by the London Privy Council respecting reasonable time for execution, may have militated against its implementation. Nonetheless, many sympathizers felt that the “…scales of justice” may have been tipped in Ron Gederon’s favour. There were, and still many others who had expressed preference for implementation of the “…DEATH PENALTY” against him. In situations like these, many people were sometimes fooled or swayed by sentimentality. The only disappointment was, in civil societies, the administration of justice does not operate on “…vengeful emotions.” Gederon may have been reckless and may have considered the consequences of his action. That, however, was a determination of the Court and had been so determined by the Jury to have found him “…guilty of murder.”THE APPELLATE PROCESS
On appeal against the “…Death sentence” in 1997, the Eastern Caribbean Appellate Court had commuted the sentence to twenty five years in incarceration for “…Manslaughter.” The Court, undoubtedly, may have, rightly or wrongly, viewed the incident not only as a “…crime of passion,” but also one void of the primary criminal element “…premeditation.” This may have been reflected in the final outcome of the appellate proceedings. His professional career as a pilot and relationship with the deceased family were virtually over. These, however, may have been the least of the bereaved family troubles and national concern.THE RELATIONSHIP
A relationship that had apparently sprung up and developed through “…genuine love,” on the one hand, and on the other, may have been nurtured by “…infatuation, lies and deceit.” These were the unmistakable conclusions arrived at by those who were close to the deceased. This may also have been compounded by “…deceptive marital promises,” complicated by a “…marital union” that was currently in existence. For all intents and purposes, it all ended for MONIQUE RAMSEY, suddenly, frighteningly and tragically on Sunday July 16, 1994. May her soul continue to rest in peace. Such had been the perennial wishes of family members, loved ones, friends, colleagues and a grieving nation.I LOVE MONIQUE
During the investigation, displaying an air of confidence, the soft-spoken accused confided in one of the investigators “…I love Monique and would not do anything to hurt her.” These were the chilling, but unbelievable words of one of LIAT’S pilots, RONALD GEDERON, a Trinidad and Tobago national. Until that fateful Sunday, when she had reportedly disappeared after attending “…Divine Service” and a “…FINAL VISIT” to a Powell’s apartment, it appeared that not much was known of her suitor (man who is trying to persuade a woman to marry him) Ronald Gederon. He had proposed marriage to her and had started the formalities for the intended secular event (through Marriage Officer). He had apparently convinced her that he had divorced a first wife using the divorce documents he had obtained from a previous“…Marriage of Convenience” in the United States.DECEPTIVE EXPLOITS
Had he succeeded in his apparent carefully orchestrated “…deceptive exploits,” RONALD GEDERON may have been guilty of the crime of “…Bigamy,” had he engaged in a solemnized ceremony with the deceased. This criminal act is defined as “…Whosoever, (man/woman) being married (legally) marries any other person during the LIFETIME of her husband or wife, wherever the second marriage takes place.” Like any unknown “…investors, financial or business entrepreneurs,” some lifetime adventures necessarily require “…due diligence.” Such process may help to negate future difficulties or reveal unsuspecting “…hidden agendas.” FATEFUL WEEKEND
Characterized by persistent “…persuasive untruths,” the relationship appeared to have flourished almost privately, but to the knowledge of close relatives and friends. It ultimately ended sorrowfully, not only for the unsuspecting victim, but also an equally loving and kindhearted family. This came about when the accused, “…confidentially,” admitted that both were to spend the “…WEEKEND” in his homeland Trinidad and Tobago. As fate or deception would have it, the accused had provided an excuse for the rendezvous to be delayed to a more “…convenient time.” It was not clear how the deceased had obtained the family residential telephone number of the accused, and no attempt was made to ascertain that information during the “…cordial interactions.” Such interactions were not “…interrogatory” and it may have been unwise or counterproductive to “…breach the sacred trust, confidence and mutual respect” that had unreservedly developed between us.FATEFUL SUNDAY
In interacting with Ron Gederon, he had revealed plans for both to be accommodated at a hotel in his homeland Trinidad and Tobago. He had alluded that “…financial constraints” had militated against the arrangements. This appeared to have been a way of hiding his apparent “…deceitful intentions;” his family life and close friends from MONIQUE. His schedule included a flight to Trinidad and Tobago on Friday July 14 and on his return on Sunday 16 and subsequently onward to Puerto Rico. There may have been a “…dreadful mistake,” for just after 5 am on the “…Fateful Sunday,” he revealed receiving a “…call” on his residential phone. Ironically, the caller was MONIQUE. He further revealed that she firmly said with controlled emotions, “…RON YOU LIED TO ME; …THE RELATIONSHIP IS OVER.” She immediately hung up, leaving a seemingly perplexed and jilted RON GEDERON to ponder.SUSPICIONS AND MISGIVINGS
Gederon was caught like a “…rat in a trap.” He was caught at a place the deceased least expected him to be, the “…matrimonial home.” Nonetheless, it appeared that she had entertained “…suspicions” that he just might be with his family. There was no way of telling that she had called the hotel where he was expected to stay. He clearly intended to make amends for the “…misgivings” he had caused her to entertain. Thus, when he returned to V.C Bird International Airport shortly after mid-morning, he quickly went to the apartment. He reportedly observed that most of her “…personal effects” were missing.” He suspected what may have happened, yet he reported to his supervisors that his apartment was “…broken into” and sought and obtained relief from the Puerto Rico flight.DECEPTIVE PLAN
It was then the accused still clad in his pilot’s uniform, visited the Ramsey’s home and then to the nearby Church where MONIQUE was attending Divine Service. He revealed entering and sat momentarily at the back and participated in the singing. Subsequently, he returned to the Ramsey’s home where he had parked his motor vehicle and awaited MONIQUE’S return. He did not reveal what he did or contemplated, but “…reasonable inferences” were drawn” that he had hatched a “…DECEPTIVE PLAN” in “…deflating one of the tires” of his Toyota car, if only to persuade her to take him to the apartment. Not knowing what may have been lurking, unsuspectingly, she obliged.PERSUASIVE INFLUENCE
Seemingly wielding a strong “…persuasive influence,” the handsome, well and soft spoken, six footer, stockily-build, “…RON” as he was more fondly called, may have been able to traverse up to the legendary “…Bridge” to persuade the “…Devil” into intervening in the recent “…official dispute” between House Speaker D. Giselle Isaac-Arrindell and Her Excellency, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack. However, in such apparent trivialities, the “…Devil,” may just have been less interested in getting involved in “…women’s melee.” Hence, he may have opted to address it at his domain, if through their “…deeds or misdeeds,” both had failed to gain entry through the “…White Pearly Gates” to Heaven and fortunately or unfortunately, ended up at his sanctuary. It would not have been known who may have been chided with “…fire or brimstone.” Optionally, however, both may have preferred to be sent to “…Brimstone Hill in St. Kitts where personal differences may have been amicably reconciled. Such appeared to have been the powerful and inescapable influence of RONALD GEDERON on the deceased.UNFOLDING DRAMA
The investigation into Monique’s disappearance was led by veteran and meticulous investigator, retired Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Assistant Commissioner Norris Airall. He was ably supported by another retiree, Superintendent Cosmos Marcelle and Superintendent (then Senior Sergeant of Police) Fitzroy Anthony. Given current crime escalation and citizen’s timidity and concerns over their safety and protection, possessing a wealth of knowledge, experience and “…exceptional investigative skills,” seemingly, this officer may have been “…imprudently posted” as ADC to Her Excellency, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack. Also assisted was then Assistant Superintendent Rawlston Pompey. The drama reportedly unfolded when the deceased failed to return home after the accused RON GEDERON had, apparently with “…fox-like cunningness,” lured her to his Powell’s apartment, a stone’s throw away from the V.C. Bird International Airport (VCBIA) and approximately three miles away from her home.NATION IN MOURNING
Initially gripped by fear and uncertainty over her “…whereabouts and safety,” the family of MONIQUE had eventually descended into the depths of despair; drowning sorrow and unbearable grief. Then when news of the death of the young, petite, attractive, affable and intelligent female was circulated, a nation of comparatively law abiding, non-violent and peace-loving people, had been plunged into “…deep shock and anguish.” It reverberated across the nation like rolling thunder, propelling everyone into instantaneous mourning over the tragic loss. The deceased, a national, was a former Cable and Wireless (LIME) employee. Subsequently the nation’s prominent and chief pathologist Dr. Lester Simon, in his autopsy examinations and findings, he had determined that “…Death was due to strangulation.” This appeared consistent with RON’S “…confidential voluntary admission” that he held her firmly around the neck after she had persisted on “…kicking me on the shin.”THE FATEFUL VISIT
While there may have been other personal reasons, none was as telling as the outcome of Gederon’s unscheduled visit to the Ramsey’s home and Monique’s visit to his apartment that ended tragically. However, such visit was reportedly intended to fetch the accused “…lug wrench,” which supposedly was to aid in the replacement of a deflated tire on his Toyota motor car. The affected wheel appeared “…mysteriously deflated” at her parents’ home at the quiet sleepy village of Potters. Subsequent removal of the lug nuts with the “…use of the deceased lug wrench” for her Mitsubishi jeep suggested “… calculated trickery” on the part of the accused that such was the real purpose.WHEN PANIC STEPPED IN
When the deceased failed to return home or failed to communicate with her family, alarm bells began ringing ceaselessly. With “…fox-like cunningness, the accused either answered or returned missed calls from relatives through his cellular phone. He appeared well ahead of all a sundry, including Law enforcement. Personnel appeared to have dropped their guard against “…SUBTERFUGE” (trick). Early in Law enforcement training, personnel had been taught “…Beware of Subterfuge.” Apart from “…officer safety and protection,” such warning was intended to “…keep officers on the alert; …preventing escape of arrested persons and to avert the “…defeat of the ends of justice.” Arrested persons had been known to have used “…force; …trickery and/or distractions to facilitate escape from the law. Frequently, arrested or detained persons were hand or foot-cuffed to prevent the inevitable-escape or attack. It was immaterial whether or not they had been eventually charged with a crime. However, justification of such action was to be provided should litigation proceedings instituted against the officer concerned.GEDERON’S RESPONSES
Gederon’s initial response to family members was that the deceased and himself had been engaged in “…an argument” and that she had stormed out of the apartment, leaving her vehicle behind. He had clearly shown an adeptness in using “…deception” to the extent of persuading Law enforcement personnel at a nearby police station that the deceased had walked away angrily from the apartment. Adding to his “…cunning exploits,” he had placed several calls to either some of the deceased’ or his friends enquiring if she had showed up at their apartments or homes.THE OMISSION
He had also driven around seemingly to divert attention from his apartment, knowing that Monique’s lifeless body had remained on his bed. Omitting to tell anyone that she had left her vehicle at his apartment, none appeared to have formed suspicions about his conduct. He acted normal; appeared fully in control of his emotions and mental faculties. Evidence of these was to be seen when he was detained and taken back to the apartment for continuing investigations. Under strict supervision, he consumed “…non-alcoholic beverage” and an apple from his refrigerator. This may have suggested a“…cold blooded attitude, if not a killer.”NOT FEARFUL
Even when there was apparent imminent danger, there comes a time when a person must do the unthinkable. For me, when left alone with Gederon, there was no fearfulness of what he was suspected of; neither was there fear of his physical stature, apparent strength of “…SAMPSON” (not Collin), being in his immediate presence and capabilities. We may have psyched each other up and concluded that each would not inflict harm upon the other. There was no barrier to communication or fear of sitting in close proximity of the accused. My interaction with him was void of “…accusation, hostility and open suspicion.” Yet in my field and the role to be played, he was the “…prime suspect” in the deceased’ sudden, but mysterious disappearance.
A SUSPECT IS A SUSPECT
Ron Gederon was a “…suspect,” yet such suspicions were to be kept far away from him. Notwithstanding the level of cooperation, suspects in serious crimes SHALL always be regarded as dangerous. Only keenness of alert could prevent physical injuries. Negligence, complacency, “…over familiarity” and/or the “…halo effect” had been allowed to cloud officers’ judgment. Most had apparently entertained a “…false sense of belief” that a “…suspect was a friend.” Consequently, many had either lost their lives or had been seriously injured. In the hearts of suspects, an officer was the “…enemy and suppressor of their liberty.” Thus, at an opportune time and with the element of surprise, they ought to be eliminated. These were constant reminders of lurking danger.SENSE OF SECURITY
Calculatedly, there was no attempt in accusing RON GEDERON of any criminal act. Hence, he may have developed a “…sense of security”-false or otherwise. Mindful of the Judges Rules and the Laws of Evidence, “…No force, threat, promises or hope of advantage had been held out to him” by any of the investigators. Notwithstanding, the investigators were as eager, shown vigor and painstaking as they were anxious and determined to solve the case. All suspected that Gederon had murdered MONIQUE and had secretly disposed of the body. Where? No one knew. What he was concealing from the chief investigator, such was exactly my objective in achieving- “…What happened to Monique Ramsey?” Since it was suspected she had been “…murdered” (by him) and the body concealed. Where it may have been found or recovered was of critical importance in solving the heinous crime.