Trinidad & Tobago Judge To Issue Verdict on Caribbean Casino Murder, Robbery

Posted on: September 20, 2021, 04:37h. 

Last updated on: September 20, 2021, 03:56h.

A judge is scheduled to announce a verdict next Monday on the murder of a security guard over a decade ago at a Trinidad and Tobago gaming property. Closing arguments in defendant Anthony “Bussa” Contrera’s trial were presented last week following weeks of testimony.

During the trial, Contrera denied any wrongdoing
High Court Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, pictured above. The judge will issue a verdict next week in the trial of a man accused of murdering a guard at a Trinidad and Tobago casino during a robbery. (Image: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday)

High Court Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds will review evidence and testimony in the case, and announce the verdict on Sept. 27, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, a local newspaper.

Contrera allegedly killed the guard during the 2010 robbery at the Caribbean island’s Jackpot Casino and Members Club located in the town of Curepe.

Robbers Pretended To Be Casino Players

The guard, identified Qiydaar Alexander, was among those who opened the gaming property that day. A short time after opening, Contrera, as well as three other suspects, pretended to be players at the casino.

Shortly after entering the venue, Contrera approached Alexander. He then allegedly shot him in the head. Alexander fell to the ground, lost consciousness, and bled heavily from the wounds, according to court testimony. He died later from his wounds.

Contrera and the other bandits then allegedly ordered workers and guests to get on the ground. The suspects allegedly robbed two visitors, as well as a casino manager, of their personal items, the Guardian said.

Before fleeing, they stole $151,000 in cash (about US $22,137) from the casino and its surveillance camera system, the Guardian said. A firearm was also stolen, according to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, another local news organization.

Days later, Contrera was arrested. Local police searched his residence in the town of Tunapuna.

Contrera Claims Innocence

During the trial, Contrera denied any wrongdoing, the Guardian said.  He claimed that while the shooting and robbery took place, he was shopping elsewhere. He further claims he was framed by the police after he saw a police officer allegedly murder a man in an unrelated incident, the Guardian said.

But prosecutor Anju Bhola argued last week Contrera was using “parlor tricks.”

The evidence, testimony, and arguments presented during the trial were heard by the judge, and she will provide the verdict, not a jury. Contrera opted to have a judge-only trial.

It is unclear if the other suspects in the case were arrested and ever brought to trial.

Recent Casino Murder

In another recent Trinidad and Tobago crime, casino owner Lucius John, 35, was at his LA’s Amusement Club when he was fatally shot by robbers last December.

John alerted his relatives to flee from the building after he saw the two robbers, Newsday reported. He was later shot by the robbers. He died at the crime scene. John had opened the gaming property just two weeks before he was murdered. It appears that no suspects had been arrested in the case of as earlier this year.