Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald, the popular Portland businessman who is accused of murdering his two wives, is to stand trial for the murder of the younger of the two women on September 18, 2023.
The date was set when McDonald and his co-accused, Astor ‘Tiny’ Barnes, appeared for a plea and case management hearing on Thursday in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
Both men are charged relative to the July 2020 murder of Tonia Hamilton-McDonald, who was the accused businessman’s second wife.
During the hearing, it was agreed that three months prior to the start of the September trial, a trial readiness hearing is to be held on June 16.
It was also agreed at Thursday’s hearing that the duration of the jury trial – McDonald’s choice – will be approximately seven weeks, during which the prosecution will call 25 witnesses.
In relation to the defence, McDonald intends to have seven witnesses to testify on his behalf. His co-accused, Barnes, will call one witness, while he is to testify and be subjected to cross-examination by the prosecution.
McDonald was again remanded in custody relative to Tonia’s murder, while Barnes had his bail extended.
Meanwhile, the case in relation to the murder of 50-year-old Merlene McDonald will not be tried jointly with Tonia’s murder, as was previously suggested by the prosecution.
While a date for the trial of that murder has not been settled on, a plea and case management hearing has been set for January 25, 2024.
Prior to that date, the prosecution and the defence will meet to decide, among other things, the mode and duration of the trial.
McDonald was, likewise, remanded in custody in relation to that matter by presiding Judge, Justice Vinette Graham-Allen.
On February 1, 2021, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the crime and security portfolio, Fitz Bailey, announced that McDonald had been charged with the murder of his first wife.
The 50-year-old woman was shot in her driveway after parking her car at her Boundbrook, Port Antonio, Portland home in May 2009. She later died from her injuries.
Years later, McDonald’s nephew, who had reportedly told police that his uncle confessed to him that he orchestrated the death of Merlene, was murdered.
Everton McDonald was on remand for the murder of his second wife when he was slapped with a murder charge relative to his first wife’s killing.
Thirty-two-year-old Hamilton-McDonald, otherwise called ‘Sassy’, a businesswoman of Dolphin Cove in Dolphin Bay, Portland, was found dead with her throat slashed on Monday, July 20, 2020.
Her body was found just outside a Toyota Axio motorcar that was found engulfed in flames on the Tailington main road in Sherwood Forrest, Portland.
The police at the time said they had information that suggested that McDonald paid over $3 million to have Hamilton-McDonald killed.
Following a probe, the businessman, Barnes and 56-year-old Denvalyn ‘Bubble’ Minott, a fisherman of Ranch Hill in Portland, were all jointly charged with murder, as well as conspiracy to murder Hamilton-McDonald.
Minott pleaded guilty to the murder in September 2020, and was subsequently sentenced to 19 years in prison, and ordered to serve 10 years before being eligible for parole consideration.
Indications are that after the 2020 killing, the 2009 case was revisited by the police, and following the submission of a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), a ruling was handed down for McDonald to be charged with murder and conspiracy to murder in relation to his first wife’s death.