By Trisha La Place

The Observer

A shopkeeper testified in the high court last week that he had been shot in the neck and left for dead by his assailants.

According to court testimony on Feb.20 Kebo Hanley and Roger Belle entered the shop of Kenneth Halberts located on Wilkinson Street in the Fortlands area.

Halberts testified that he was counting the day’s earnings at about 10 p.m. when the Hanley came banging on the door asking to buy corn curls and oreo biscuit.

Halberts said since he knew Hanley personally he agreed to sell him the items.

So Halberts allowed Hanley and Belle into the shop and that was then things got nasty.

As Halberts was about to sell the items, Hanley suddenly changed his mind.

Belle came storming into the shop slamming the door behind him shut.

Belle then jumped on Halberts and cornered him against a wall. Halberts testified that Belle pulled out a gun and squeezed the trigger twice, face blank at him.

However, the gun failed to fire. If the gun had fired Halberts probably would have died. Since the gun had failed to fire, Halberts said he heard Hanley order Belle to knock him out.

Halberts saw Hanley reach for a bottle of rum from the shelf. Halberts said he crawled under some stairs as Hanley attempted smash the bottle over his head.

Belle got impatient and lounged after Halberts.

Halberts said he and Belle wrestled on the floor. Belle managed to get his hand on the gun. Halberts testified that Belle held the gun to his face and suddenly the gun went off.

Both Hanley and Belle then ran out of the shop.

Halberts saw blood. What he did not realize then was that he had been shot. He got up and staggered to a mirror and saw that the blood was streaming from his neck. By then he was in shock.

He started screaming for help.

Halberts had been left to die. However, Halberts was not ready to give up on life just yet. He found the strength and crawled to a telephone and dialed 9-1-1.

Halberts testified that he remembered the ambulance coming for him in a matter of minutes.

He spent four days at the Joseph Nathaniel France General Hospital before being released.

Faced with such evidence Hanley, who had first pleaded not guilty, changed it to guilty of wounding with intent and not guilty of attempted murder.

Judge Francis Belle told Hanley he would remain in custody until the Nov. 7. It is then that Belle who has already pleaded guilty would get a chance to testify and a jury would decide sentencing.