After spending almost 15 years in prison awaiting trial for the 2004 murder of Mala Mohammed, the wife of former supermarket owner Khalid “Uncle Khalid” Mohammed, Sheldon Reed and Dane Swan have been acquitted. Both men were discharged by Justice Maria Wilson who presided over their trial since October last year.
On Thursday, after two days of being directed by the judge on the law and how they should apply it to the evidence they heard, the 12-member jury returned not-guilty verdicts in favour of both men. And, just before 6 pm, the men walked out the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, as free men. Reed had little to tell reporters as he was leaving, "I can't say anything. I just want to bury my wife. She died on Saturday.
"It was the State’s case that on the night of May 10, 2004, Mohammed had just driven into the garage of her Edward Street, Princes Town, home when she was confronted by two men.In opening the case, senior prosecutor Joy Balkaran said Mohammed begged for her life and offered to hand over all the money she had on her, but was shot twice, once to the head and once to the back. She died on the floor of the garage.
"Mala Mohammed begged them not to kill her. She said ‘doh kill meh, I will give you all the money.”Balkaran said the family’s maid heard and saw the commotion and hid under a pool table. Nine months after Mohammed's murder, Reed and Swan were arrested and they allegedly confessed to being at the house but denied they killed Mohammed. Neither man testified at their trial, and their defence was that the case against them was fabricated by the police.
Also prosecuting was state attorney Candace Nanton, while the men were represented by attorneys Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt, Alexia Romero, and Karunaa Bisramsingh.