Sheffield Crown Court has heard Jabari Fanty, Aaron Yanbak and Ricardo Nkanyezi all deny murdering the 20-year-old on November 16, 2020 at a flat in Grimesthorpe Road South, Burngreave, Sheffield, during a drugs-related incident to have. trade and gangs.
Fanty, Yanbak, Nkanyezi and another defendant named Jordan Foote also have conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life, and conspiracy to supply drugs Class A contested. Nkanyezi has also denied owning a prohibited firearm.
Defense Counsel Frida Hussain QC, representing Nkanyezi, told the jury: “We state that based on the evidence in this case it is not possible to be certain that Ricardo Nkanyezi was charged specifically with murder on count four and conspiracy on counts one and… two is guilty of possession of firearms and ammunition.”
She added, “In order to find someone guilty of murder, you may think that you need solid and reliable evidence that will lead you to a firm conclusion of guilt, which we believe is lacking in Ricardo’s case.”
Ms Hussain said: “Prosecutors are suggesting that the three people involved in the killing of Ramey Salem be shown on this CCTV but there is no evidence to identify them.
“And while prosecutors are relying on clothing comparisons while attempting to identify two out of three individuals, there is no indication that Ricardo can be identified from clothing comparison footage.”
Solicitor in Sheffield murder trial denies CCTV, DNA, phone records and gun records
Ms Hussain acknowledged that Nkanyezi was allegedly carrying a manbag containing drugs and a phone with drug-related messages when he was arrested, and a backpack containing his DNA with a firearm in the garden of his home.
However, she stressed that these matters cannot ensure anyone that Nkanyezi was one of the three men seen in the CCTV footage who prosecutors say were responsible for the killing of Ramey Salem.
She added that the gun in the backpack was not one of the guns used to shoot Ramey Salem.
Ms Hussain suggested a series of unanswered questions including: who put the firearm in the backpack, who put the backpack in the garden, who had access to the property and could someone else have been responsible for putting the bag there?
A witness has stated that she saw a man named “Ricks” involved in drugs and that he had been at an address when the witness also saw an unidentified man pressing bullets.
However, Ms Hussain pointed out that this witness’s description of “Ricks” did not match Ricardo Nkanyezi and the witness did not single him out from an identity parade.
Ms Hussain told the jury: “The loss of Ramey Salem’s life is a tragedy, but to make an incorrect decision as to who is responsible for this heinous crime would be a catastrophe.”
Mr Wood, prosecutor, previously said one of two guns used in the Ramey Salem shooting had been used in a previous attempted murder of a man named Ali al-Humakaini.
Fanty, Yanbak and Foote have denied the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini after he was shot dead at Osgathorpe Park, Burngreave, Sheffield on October 31st 2020.
Mr Wood alleges that the same gun was used in a shooting on 2 November 2020 in Rotherham involving Yanbak and Nkanyezi and that the second gun used during the Ramey Salem shooting is linked to a shooting incident on 19 November 2020. October 2020 in Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe.
He also said Foote allegedly fled a stolen BMW on Walkley Street before officers recovered a pistol, drugs and cash.
Police then found suspected drug-dealing paraphernalia at Foote’s home and the pistol linked to the BMW was examined and possible DNA matches were linked to Fanty, according to Mr Wood.
After Fanty’s arrest, Mr Wood said he allegedly had a knife, two mobile phones, a ballistic vest, a baton, masks, scales with traces of drugs and Nike trainers that matched a footprint from the crime scene.
Mr Wood said when Yanbak was arrested a firearm magazine was allegedly recovered and bullet residue was found on his clothing.
Fanty, aged 19, with no criminal record, of Broadhead Road, Stocksbridge, Sheffield; Yanbak, 20, with no criminal record, of Abbeydale Road, Abbeydale, Sheffield; and Nkanyezi, 20, who has a criminal record, of Morgan Avenue, Parson Cross, Sheffield, have all pleaded not guilty to the murder.
Foote, 20, of Basegreen Road, Basegreen, Sheffield, Fanty and Yanbak have all pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini.
Fanty, Yanbak, Nkanyezi and Foote have also all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, to pleading not guilty to possessing ammunition to endanger life and themselves not guilty of supplying class A drugs.
Fanty has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a bladed item, and Nkanyezi has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a firearm.