As the year 2001 fades into the history books and a brand new year approaches on a horse's back, the police are enjoying some success on the crime front, with 30 less murders recorded this year than were committed in 2000.
But despite the significant drop in the number of recorded murders, the police continue to struggle with a stubborn crime problem. And if past years are any indication, 2002 will certainly bring its challenges.
And although the number of murders committed so far this year- 43- is down from the 72 recorded in 2000, murder continues to stretch the resources of an over-worked police force. Police say that many of the victims knew their attackers.
The first murder of the year was committed on Feb. 16, when the life of Ricardo Deveaux, 30, was taken away. Deveaux, a native of Andros, was shot in the upper body around 1 am while in the Plantol Street area, between East Street and Collins Avenue.
The murder victim was in a vehicle with a woman when the pair was approached by four men. One of the men produced a hand gun and demanded that the couple hand over their wallets.
Deveaux, who was driver of the car attempted to pull off but the gunman fired several shots through the rear windshield hitting Deveaux in his upper body.
The police and paramedics were alerted to the scene, but attempts to revive Deveaux failed. He died at the scene.
A notorious slaying was that of Nurse Joan Lunn, who was gunned down in a hail of bullets while tending to a patient. On July 10 at about 10:40 p.m. two masked gunmen entered a Private Surgical Ward, where a 34-year-old Anthony Saunders was being attended to by Nurse Lunn. The patient was hit several times about the body and Nurse Lunn received a fatal chest wound.
Four men were charged with the shooting death of Nurse Lunn before Magistrate Linda Virgill. The men charged with murder were Clarence Grey, 29, of Trelawney Gardens, Krendon Brown, 24, of Fox Court, Farrington road. Warren Ellis, 26, of Baldwin Avenue and Myron "Donkey" Mortimer, 30, of Hawthorn Road, were charge with conspiracy to commit murder. All defendants were also charged with the attempted murder of Saunders.
Police were also able to capture, Eric Newbold, sought as a "most wanted" fugitive by the Central Detective Unit for about two years. He was arraigned on Oct. 23, on charges of murder and causing public terror. The 27-year-old appeared before Magistrate Marilyn Meeres. He was not required to plead to the charges.
Also known as "Twin", Newbold was extradited from Atlanta, Georgia to New Providence in October to face the charges against him. Initial reports were that he had been living in Atlanta for about eight months before he was arrested by U.S. Marshalls on February 26, 2001. He was arrested on car theft and obstruction of justice charges.
Bahamian police say that the defendant, by means of unlawful harm, concerned with others, caused the death of Jimmy Ambrose on March 29, 1999 at Club Rock, West Bay Street. At the same date and place it was also alleged, he intentionally and unlawfully discharged a handgun to cause public terror to Leonardo Murphy, Ainsley Edden, Philip Higgs, Patrick Williams, Winston Newton, Police Constables 1988 Burrows and 2250 Robinson and Detective Constable 2265 Scott.
A preliminary inquiry was scheduled for Jan. 17, 2002. Newbold was denied bail and remanded to Her Majesty's Prison, Fox Hill.
Among those incidents not classified homicides but which could be considered unusual accidental death was that of a 52-year-old woman, who succumbed to injuries early in September after being attacked by a pack of apparent stray pot-cake dogs. The deceased female of Abraham street, Kemp Road was reportedly walking home on St. James Road around 12:00 a.m. from a fish fry festival when the incident occurred.
The woman received multiple wounds about the body and was taken to the Accident and Emergency section of Princess Margaret Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
"Potcakes don't really behave like that," were the words of Manager and Chief Inspector at the Bahamas Humane Society, Steven Turnquest when asked if he thought the attack on the middle-aged woman on Sunday was the work of a pack of 'potcake' dogs.
"I think the dogs might have been cross-breed pitbulls," he said, adding that the information he received from the hospital was that the woman had been mauled by the dogs, as chunks of flesh were missing.
As a result of the attacks Turnquest encouraged the public to report dogs to the police if they are not enclosed in a yard and run out attempting to attack. "A dog that has three reports against it, police will act, that's the law," he said.
A man from Firetrail Road was shot in the head near the back of the ear on Dec. 28 that made his murder the 43rd for the year. Marvin Ferguson, 32, was shot while at Oodle Corner off Street at about 10:35 p.m. on Dec. 28.
Police investigations continue and they suspect that Ferguson was a victim of a robbery as his car had been stolen. He managed to stager from the vehicle attempting to receive help when he succumbed to his injuries. Reports say that police will continue to investigate evidence, foul play is not suspected.
In one of two freak accidents on Dec. 29 at about 10:00 p.m. Dereck Barr lost his life when he was crushed between two containers at Seaboard Port near 601 night club. The 28-year-old of Bar 20 Corner at the time was loading a container at that port. Police have ruled his death as an accident.
Additionally Joseph Johnson of Bernard Road was on a fishing expedition near High Key, Fresh Creek Andros when he supposedly drowned. Police say that at about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, the deceased was diving and is believed to have come up to fast and drowned.
However police have not confirmed the exact cause of death as an autopsy would be conducted.
In the year 2000 on Grand Bahama there were eight recorded murders. On the island of Abaco four murders were committed, on Eleuthera there was one murder, New Providence recorded 55, Exuma recorded two and Long Island and Bimini recorded one each.
The homicide statistics for 1999 stated that a considerable amount of the murders committed within that year evolved from domestic disputes.