23 year old Reuben Price was accused 5 years ago of the murder of Steven Perez, son of the driver for the Police Department’s Prosecution Branch at the corner of Dolphin and Iguana Street on June 26, 2011. A teenager at the time, he allegedly confessed his involvement to police; but Justice Troadio Gonzalez ruled today that the statement he gave police was not given voluntarily and willingly and was in fact done under coercion and mistreatment. Price’s attorney, Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, today explained why the statement was worthless as evidence:
Simeon Sampson SC, Attorney for Rueben Price: Was a confession statement taken by the police. My client alleged that he gave that statement because he was beaten and tazered. Police officers testified to say that my client was not speaking the truth. Unfortunately, my client went to the hospital where the doctor found harm upon his body, therefore the judge had to agree that my submission, that that statement was extracted from my client because of police brutality. Consequentially the statement was not admitted into evidence, there has been no other evidence.
Reporter: Whose murder was it that your client was charged with?
Simeon Sampson SC, Attorney for Rueben Price: A boy by the name of Perez. Well my client said that he went to borrow a gun to shoot the boy or something like that. That’s the caution statement. Nothing else.
There were no eyewitnesses to the murder; in Price’s statement, he gave his motive as jealousy over a girl. There was a hearing to establish the admissibility of the statement; Price took the stand to say that he was badly beaten and tasered to force him into confessing; a doctor appearing for the prosecution stated that wounds on Price could be classified as intentional harm, not accidental as though falling from a bicycle, as claimed by the prosecution. Justice Gonzalez was swayed in Price’s favour and upheld the submission of Sampson, leading to Price’s acquittal