26-year-old dies while waiting in courtroom

By Nico Scavella


A 26-year-old man previously accused of being caught with $100,000 worth of ecstasy pills died suddenly yesterday morning while waiting to be arraigned on new drug charges.

Jermaine Adderley was waiting in court to be charged along with two other men sometime after 10am when he had a fatal epileptic seizure, his attorney Keith Seymour said.

He died within moments of the attack, Mr Seymour said, despite the best efforts of court officials, his brother and one of his co-accused to stabilise him.

Adderley’s sudden death came after he spent three days in police custody over allegations he, 18-year-old Tristan Johnson, and 40-year-old Marvin Newland were caught with marijuana as well as ecstasy with intent to supply those drugs to others on January 10. Adderley and his now former co-accused were further charged with being caught with cocaine that same day.

Newland and Johnson both pleaded not guilty to the charges and the matter was adjourned to a later date for trial.

Yesterday, Mr Seymour told reporters that the last time he saw his client prior to yesterday was at around 8am on Saturday morning at the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU). He said Adderley was “in good shape” at the time.

Mr Seymour said he did not hear from his client on Sunday, but eventually found out that police were going to charge him in court with the new charges.

The attorney said when he arrived at the Magistrates’ Court complex sometime shortly after 10.30am, and after making it to Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes’ court where Adderley was due to be arraigned, he saw where court attendants were assisting his client medically. “He was having somewhat of an epileptic seizure, and everybody in court were kind of concerned. But we really didn’t know the extent of what was happening,” Mr Seymour said.

Mr Seymour said various people were trying to assist Adderley. Some were giving him water, while his brother, Byron Brown, also lent his assistance. Johnson also tried to help by holding Adderley firmly to get him to calm down. However, Mr Seymour said Adderley started shouting and appeared to be in “excruciating pain”.

“Once his brother came back and dealt with him, we just saw that he just stopped,” Mr Seymour said. “He just stopped moving. And one of the court officials mentioned that ‘hey, I believe that he is dead.’”

Mr Seymour said Adderley was taken from the court complex so medical officials could examine him to determine what actually went wrong. 

Police, in a press release, said Adderley was officially pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death, police said. In response to questions by reporters, Mr Seymour said Adderley’s mother said he suffered from seizures in the past. 

When asked if his client was on any form of medication, Mr Seymour said that Adderley did not request any medicine while he was in custody. He also said Adderley had breakfast yesterday morning—grits and tuna.

“This thing just came about suddenly,” Mr Seymour lamented. “You know these seizures are unorganised.”

When asked by The Tribune how Adderley’s death impacted him, Mr Seymour said: “He was my client for several years. He’s been one who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time in some instances. And when you build a relationship, a rapport with your client and to see something like that happen to a family, you do feel it.”

Last May, Adderley and 25-year-old Adam Johnson both entered not guilty pleas to claims they were caught with $110,000 worth of ecstasy pills, over 5,000 anti-anxiety pills and other illegal drugs they intended to supply to others when police searched a house on Dorchester Street they were in. At the time, the pair also denied being caught in possession of 10 methamphetamine pills and one pound of marijuana worth $1,000 they both planned to distribute to others on April 30, 2018.

Adderley and Johnson also denied unlawfully storing some 5,448 Alprazolam pills; 1,090 Xanax pills; and 13 Oxycodone pills they planned to sell to others at the residence in question.

Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax.

Adderley was further charged with being in possession of a quantity of marijuana on the date in question, a claim he also denied.  Adderley was due to stand trial on August 15 over those allegations.

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