Crown assessing judge-alone trial ‘wish’ of alleged cult church killer Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A plea and case management hearing has been rescheduled to December 18 for Andre Ruddock, the man who was implicated in the killing of a woman during a deadly church ritual in St James in October 2021.

This was after prosecutors requested additional time to determine whether Ruddock’s desire for a judge-alone trial is permissible.

The developments in the case were heard in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston on last week.

The accused man, who was a member of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in St James, is charged with the murder of Tanika Gardener, who was employed to Appliance Traders Limited (ATL).

Before the matter was adjourned, the court heard that the prosecution and defence have agreed on a tentative trial date, which was not disclosed in court.

Ruddock, who has been in custody for the past two years, was further remanded in custody.

The nation was left stunned by the news of a deadly suspected ritual at the church in Montego Bay on Sunday, October 17, 2021.

The congregants were gathered at the church on the instructions of now-deceased controversial pastor, Kevin Smith.

During the event at the church, Smith reportedly instructed a congregant to slit Gardener’s throat.

The individual refused, and Ruddock allegedly grabbed a knife that was on hand, and used it to slash the woman’s throat in the full view of other members of the church.

Another member of the church, Michael Brown, was also killed during the night’s bizarre events, which culminated with an alleged shootout between members of the church and the police.

Another congregant, Kevaughn Palmer, who reportedly attacked the law enforcers with a knife, was shot and killed.

Many members of the church, including Smith and Ruddock, were subsequently arrested.

But Ruddock remains the only accused that was ever charged in connection with the night’s bizarre events, this after Smith died in a motor vehicle crash on Monday, October 25, 2021 on the way to Kingston, where he was to have been similarly charged with murder.

A policeman, Constable Orlando Irons, also died as a result of the crash on the Linstead bypass road in St Catherine.