Jamaica court OKs murder appeal by gang leader

KINGSTON, Jamaica—A Jamaican court granted permission Wednesday for a former gang leader to appeal his double murder conviction before Britain’s Privy Council.

The Jamaica Court of Appeal ruled Donald “Zeeks” Phipps can take his case to the Privy Council, which is this former British colony’s highest court. Phipps’ lawyer, Raphael Codlin, said he will file the appeal but could not speculate when.

In 2006, Phipps was convicted of killing Dayton “Scotchbrite” Williams and Rodney Farquharson, two alleged former members of his Matthews Lane gang in impoverished downtown Kingston. Their bodies were burned after they were shot to death in 2005.

Phipps was long considered a major figure in the Jamaican underworld and a close associate of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, an alleged gangland boss who is facing U.S. drug- and gunrunning charges in New York after a bloody manhunt in Kingston this year killed 73 civilians and three security officers.

Phipps’ supporters rioted in Kingston for two days after he was arrested in 1988 on suspicion of attempted murder and other charges. Police also had to quell violence in downtown Kingston when his loyalists protested over his jailing in the 2005 killings.

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