Crum-Ewing’s murder trial…maintains insufficient evidence presented to courtPrincipal Magistrate Judy Latchman on Monday reluctantly committed Regan “Grey Boy” Rodrigues to stand trial in the High Court for the 2015 murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing.In tears, Rodrigues stood as Magistrate Latchman disclosed to him that she was compelled by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to commit him to stand trial for the murder even as she maintained that there was insufficient evidence to do so.Regan “Grey Boy” RodriguesAccording to Latchman, based on orders from a High Court Judge after the DPP sought an intervention, she had to reluctantly comply having lost an appeal for a stay of execution, that is, a delay in carrying out a court order in the matter.Special Prosecutor in the case, Nigel Hughes spoke to Guyana Times following the committal and noted that the DPP has the power to direct a magistrate, in this case Latchman, on the matter.In 2017, following the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into Crum-Ewing’s murder, Latchman had announced that the evidence presented to the court was not sufficient and a prima facie case was not made out against Rodrigues .She highlighted evidence given by the Crime Scene Analyst, Delicia Brown, whose submission to the court revealed that the .32 pistol, along with five .32 bullets, found at the accused’s home was indeed the gun used in the execution of Crum-Ewing.However, she stated that no actual evidence was presented to the court to prove that Rodrigues pulled the trigger, thus committing the heinous act.She also noted that the oral statements given by Rodrigues during the course of the investigation did not implicate him in the killing. As such, the Magistrate told the court that the accused has no case to answer to, as the evidence that the tribunal might request was not available.Upon hearing the decision, Rodrigues burst into tears and as he was being led back into the lock-ups, he screamed, “Freedom! Freedom!”However, the DPP subsequently issued a letter to the Magistrate instructing her to reverse her decision to commit Rodrigues to the High Court for trial.In part, the letter stated, “In accordance with section 72 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, I hereby … direct you to comply with Sections 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, with a view of committing the accused.”The letter was read to Rodrigues , who broke down in tears, falling to his knees and questioning why he was being faced with such “injustice”.Magistrate Latchman had refused to comply with the order and had told the accused that she would not be committing him as she was maintaining that the evidence presented to her was not sufficient for her to do so.Latchman’s ruling made it the third time Rodriquez would have been freed of the murder, the first time being in 2016.However, in April of 2017, he was rearrested after the DPP ordered that the case be reopened.According to the DPP, “The sole purpose of this remit is to take further evidence from Police witnesses and to rule on the voluntariness of all oral statements of the accused.”Crum-Ewing was gunned down as he was at the time urging residents of Diamond, East Coast Demerara, to cast their ballots in the May 2015 election.He was shot twice to the temple, once to the back of the head, and twice to the stomach. (Kizzy Coleman)
“When Ken talks about a top-to-bottom review in five days time, you can’t make that happen. These cuts were in the works, and expect more,” said Tony Plath, an associate professor of finance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Don’t underestimate the depth of Lewis’ disappointment in earnings. This guy is pissed.” Bank of America employees in several consumer real estate locations – including Dallas, Richmond, Va., and Brea and Rancho Cordova – will have the opportunity to apply for open positions within the company, bank spokesman Terry Francisco said. The bank started informing affected employees Thursday. Bank of America’s consumer real estate division employs about 13,000 people and it works with about 7,000 independent brokers. “While we are extremely proud of our strong track record in the wholesale business, we believe our long-term opportunity lies in maximizing our more competitive retail channels,” said Floyd Robinson, Bank of America’s president of consumer real estate and insurance services in a statement. A manifestation of that retail strategy, especially during a downturn in the U.S. mortgage market, has been the development and successful execution of its national “no-fee” mortgage program. The nation’s financial institutions have been squeezed as a credit-crunch and defaults in subprime loans have caused investors to become hesitant about taking risks. Dozens of home lenders halted operations this year and are being slammed as housing prices slide. An increase in defaults have forced banks to tighten lending standards. Bank of America’s product, introduced in May, does away with the collection of borrower, lender and third-party fees that typically add a few thousand dollars to the price of buying a home. That product has produced more than $50 billion in application volume in the past six months, according to the bank. Such a product, has enabled Bank of America to “gain critical market share,” Robinson said. In the third-quarter, Bank of America’s overall first mortgage-funded production increased 27 percent when compared with the same period last year. Driving that overall increase was a 60 percent spike in funded mortgage originations through banking centers and a 26 percent increase in funded originations by mortgage loan officers, the company said. “Ken says he likes the retail business, he likes getting to know customers, underwriting, and managing his risk,” said Plath, the university professor. “He just doesn’t like the securitization and servicing sides of the business.” He may not like it, but he is willing to form an alliance and help it. In August, Bank of America invested $2 billion in Countrywide Financial Corp. – the biggest U.S. home lender – when the Calabasas-based company was running short of cash. Countrywide is among the dozens of mortgage lenders that have battled a spike in mortgage defaults and foreclosures, especially in subprime loans – those made to borrowers with weak credit. Those specific problems haven’t extended to Bank of America, which exited the subprime lending market in 2001 when Lewis took over as CEO. The bank called it a business that had “become unattractive from a risk-reward standpoint.” In recent months, Lewis has pushed his bank to improve its market share of prime mortgages, or those offered to borrowers with a solid credit history, and industry experts believe it’s a market the bank has yet to fully tap. As of Sept. 30, Bank of America held a residential mortgage portfolio of $274 billion and has a stated aim of doubling its 5 percent share of the direct-to-consumer mortgages in the next three years. As the nation’s largest retail bank, Bank of America offers several ways for customers to apply for mortgages. The bank has 10,000 personal bankers in nearly 6,000 banking centers nationwide, and 2,200 mortgage loan officers serving 33 states and the District of Columbia, along with a phone channel known as LoanLine, and its Web site. “We see a lot of opportunities in growing our retail business,” Francisco said. “By exiting wholesale mortgage we are putting our full focus in one area, not splitting it.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The nation’s second-largest bank will stop offering home mortgages through brokers by Dec. 31 to focus on direct-to- consumer lending through its banking centers and loan officers. The move also eliminates the jobs in the bank’s consumer real estate unit. The bank shared details of the decision with The Associated Press before its public announcement scheduled for today. The cuts are part of a 3,000-job reduction engineered by CEO Ken Lewis after the nation’s second-largest bank reported a huge decline in third-quarter earnings. MORTGAGES: About 700 employees will lose their jobs. By Ieva M. Augstums THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In addition to scaling back its investment banking operations, Bank of America Corp. is exiting the wholesale mortgage business and eliminating about 700 jobs, bank officials said Thursday.