August 08, 2022
After three hours of deliberation, a jury on Friday convicted Vernal Johnson of murder. Johnson argued that he acted in self-defense in the February 9, 2018 shooting that took the life of Rico Taylor, who was otherwise known as "Bobo".
Johnson, who was on bail pending his trial, was remanded into custody and will be sentenced in October.
Prosecutors relied on surveillance footage from the El Rancho Bar on Hutchinson Street to prove that the shooting was a cold-blooded murder.
Johnson was accused of the attempted murders of Jarvis Joseph and Anfernee Major, who were also wounded in the shooting.
However, Johnson was acquitted of the attempted murders at the direction of Justice Deborah Fraser.
When Joseph took the witness stand, he claimed that he couldn’t recall the events that led up to the shooting and that he didn’t know who shot him.
According to the prosecution, a fight started in the club after Johnson and Taylor bumped into each other.
Johnson claimed that he took Taylor’s gun from him and shot him four times.
The video didn’t show Johnson disarming Taylor; however, he called a witness who claimed that Taylor was armed.
In his closing address to the jury, the prosecutor, Timothy Bailey, told jurors that the surveillance footage showed Johnson killing a defenseless man.
For her part, defense lawyer Sonia Timothy said that Johnson, a “productive member of society”, was defending himself from a “terror on the streets”.
At the time of his death, Taylor was on bail for the July 21, 2017 murder of Ashanton Newbold.
Tamika Gibson appeared with Bailey.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian