Friday, April 3, 2015

It is not like Miami Vice.......

"Miami is different.  Roxanne was not aware of anything," stated Germano Wabafiyebazu.

Germano met Roxanne Dube in 1983 and their sons Jean and Marc were born in Ottawa Canada and grew up in the capital in a life described as privileged.  They traveled with their mother to Zimbabwe when Roxanne was posted there from 2005 to 2008 as Canada's Ambassador.  Roxanne had a long history of working in the diplomatic corps and had become the Canadian consul general in Miami FL in November 2014.  Germano had shared custody of his sons and had wanted Jean, 17 and Marc, 15, to stay with him in Canada instead of joining their mother in February 2015.  It would now seem that it would have been the best choice for his sons.



Jean and Marc

The gunshots were reported at 2 pm on March 30 2015 in the 3600 block of Southwest 17th Terrace and witnesses reported hearing about ten gunshots.  They added that they saw someone with a gun come out of the home followed by another who was stumbling.  That man fell to the ground and they saw someone else exit the home screaming.  The result was two young men dead, another wounded and two young men under arrest.  One of the dead was Roxanne and Germano's son and the other son was placed under arrest.

Jean had asked to borrow his mother's BMW with diplomatic plates to take a drive with his brother Marc at around 2 pm that day.  He routinely used that car to drive to school at times as well as run errands.  Germano states that he knew that Jean had struggled with substance abuse and he was not surprised to learn that he was planning on purchasing marijuana.  There is some dispute though as to what the actual plan was for the brothers but the result is not disputed.

The brothers met up with an intermediary who told them what house to go to for buying the marijuana.  Some reports state that the brothers had gone there not just to purchase the weed but to rip off the dealer for nearly 2 pounds of marijuana.  The purchase deal they allegedly made was for the $5,000 package of two pounds but they had no intention of paying for it.  Other reports state that they may have just been there when whatever deal they had arranged went bad.

Whatever the motive was does not change what did happen at the residence.  Jean drove up the home and exited the car, leaving his brother Marc seated inside.  It is not known where the brothers managed to get the guns they had on them when they arrived at the house but they were both armed.  Jean went inside and gunshots rang out.  At that point, Marc ran inside of the house and admitted to firing two shots as well.  Jean and Joshua Wright, 17, the suspected drug dealer were both dead, Wright from multiple gunshot wounds.  Anthony Rodriguez, 19, was also inside the residence and suffered a gunshot wound to the arm.


Rodriguez managed to get into a car and flee the scene but was later arrested at a nearby gas station.  He was treated for his injury and charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell and second degree murder with a deadly weapon.  The police state that they believe that Wright had set up the deal and Rodriguez was supplying the drugs.  Rodriguez drove to the apartment with the marijuana and then went inside to negotiate the deal.  Shortly after going inside, gunfire erupted and Marc ran in armed with a gun as well.

Marc was arrested at the scene and has been charged with felony murder and corruption by threat against a public servant for allegedly threatening to shoot an officer dead.  He is being held in a juvenile facility currently but they may change if they decide to charge him as an adult.  He will not have the protection of diplomatic immunity because his mother is only a consul general and immunity is extended to dependents of diplomats, not consuls.

Roxanne took a job as the legislative assistant to Lloyd Axworthy after graduating from the University of Ottawa in 1988 with a masters degree in political science and worked for him again in 1993.  She transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998 until she was appointed to the post in Zimbabwe in 2005.  She returned to Canada to work in a senior position in the Foreign Affairs office until her recent job in Miami Florida.

Jean and Marc had attended the private French school Lycee Claudel in Ottawa Canada when they lived there and have been described as good students and well liked.  Germano stated that he and Roxanne had separated because her work.  They have remained close to each other and shared custody of their sons.  He did add that he felt that his sons were given too much growing up and they needed more boundaries and limits.  He had wanted the boys to stay in Canada with him and had visited them in Florida in February after they moved to be with their mother.  It seems as though Marc will be spending a lot of time in Florida since these are very serious charges.

Sadly, this may be a case of life trying to imitate the fantasy life of games, television and movies.

Update April 3 2015:

Late yesterday, Roxanne released a statement expressing her profound thanks for the support they have received in the past few days.  She also extended her condolences to the family of Joshua Wright as well as asking for privacy to mourn their son Jean.  Friends of Joshua's have gathered outside of his apartment where the shooting took place and have begun a small memorial for him.

The Miami police have not released much information about the shooting on March 30th but there has been some information that has surfaced.  None of the young men attended the same schools.  Jean was attending Gulliver Preparatory in neighboring Pinecrest because he needed several specific courses offered there in order to graduate from his Canadian high school, Marc was attending Palmetto Senior High School and Joshua had been attending Coral Gables High School.

A young woman who identified herself as the girlfriend of Joshua Wright stated that Jean and Joshua had met each other last weekend at the Ultra Music Festival.  The annual festival is billed as the largest electronic festival and is held in Bay Front park in downtown Miami every March.  Another woman who stated that she was the girlfriend of Rodriguez added that she did not understand the violence and added that those Canadian kids took an innocent life

There was no mention of where Rodriguez may have gone to school or how he knew Wright but evidently they were good enough friends for Wright to call him up and have him deliver 2 pounds of marijuana.  Rodriguez was in court to be charged with two counts of felony murder and one count of intent to sell.  His bond was set at $150,000 and the judge stated that it had to come from legal sources which would mean that another of his friends would not be able to show up with a handful of cash to bond him.  If he is released on bond he is to remain under house arrest pending trial.  The lawyer for Rodriguez argued that he should not be charged with murder because even though he had a gun in the car, he did not bring it into the apartment for the drug sale.

Marc has been described as a quiet young man who ate alone, sat alone and stayed very much to himself at school.  It was added that he shadowed his brother and followed his lead.  Germano stated that he knew that Jean was smoking pot but that Marc was not and he had warned both of his sons about the dangers of living in Miami before they moved there.  Marc is still being held in a juvenile facility and they have not decided if he will be tried as an adult yet.  One young man who was a classmate of Marc's at Palmetto stated that he had attended a party with jean and Marc recently.  James Findley stated that Marc was well mannered, shy and followed his brother's lead while jean sold drugs at the party.

Roxanne had evidently requested that he be returned to Canada to be tried there for his crimes but that request had been denied.  Marc was also denied bail at this time because the judge felt that he could be a flight risk.  While he had sat in the car initially during the drug transaction, he did leave the car, armed with a handgun and did fire shots at the scene according to reports.  The judge took that very seriously and is treating him accordingly.  Marc is next scheduled to be in court on April 8th and he may be formally charged at that time.

The reason that much of the early investigation findings are being kept under wraps may be that the Canadian government and the US State Department are actively involved with the local police who are investigating the incident.  The local police have got to be feeling much more pressure from the international spotlight this crime has brought to them and it is understandable that they are moving carefully with the investigation.

Audio from the first court appearance for Marc is here:

Update April 6 2015:

The case that has grabbed the interest of people from Canada to Florida has gotten a little more crowded.  It has been reported that there were two other men inside the apartment with Joshua Wright when Jean had gone in armed to rip off Wright.  A witness had stated that they had seen one man stumble to the door of the apartment immediately after the shots were fired.

Johan Ruiz, 21, often hung out with Wright at the apartment and he has been identified as the man who was shot in the stomach that day.  The police have not stated if Ruiz had a part in the drug deal or why he was present during it.  Ruiz had managed to stumble to the door of the apartment and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he is recovering.

The police have stated that neither Wright or Ruiz have any prior police record.  One witness has stated that Jean met Wright at the Ultra concert, police are investigating that as well since the concert switched to an 18 and over event this year.  It has been reported that there was another male in the apartment at the time of the shooting as well but that was not Marc.  Marc has been described as going to the apartment after the shooting started and then chasing after Rodriguez firing shots at him as Rodriguez fled.

Wright had earlier been reported as a student of Coral Gable High School but it has now been stated  that he had been expelled for not attending.  His brother states that he had been working on his GED by enrolling in night classes at Gables High and Miami's The English Center adult school.  He grew up in the neighborhood of Allapattah in Miami FL and was trying to get into culinary school.

Rodriguez grew up in Miami FL, lived at his family's home about a mile from the shooting and is well known the police..  He has an arrest record that shows three arrests for drug possession before he was an adult.  He was a person of interest in the shooting death of a suspected "Molly" dealer in August 2013.  His cousin Anthony Mejia, 20, who was not the shooter, is awaiting trial for murder in the death of Joeyvani Ferguson.

In February 2015 the Miami police followed Rodriguez's Chevy Impala to a Marathon gas station and noticed both the strong smell of marijuana and a small clear bag that containing it.  They found $4,000 and 24 Xanax in the glove compartment and found $800 in his pockets as well as a Glock pistol that had been stolen from a car in Miami earlier.  The police reported that they could not tie any of the items to Rodriguez or his passenger and declined to press charges.

He told police that he had been called by Wright to bring over the two pounds of marijuana to the apartment for sale.  He did not bring his gun inside and fled from the apartment, wounded to his car outside.  He then drove to the same Marathon gas station where he had been arrested in February and was arrested there again.

It is still very unclear how young men, only one of which is known to have a drug habit, managed to come up with the idea of the rip-off.  Their social media does show both Jean and Marc holding alcohol bottles and Marc smoking something.  It would seem that there is a lot more to come out about this case and why it happened.

Update April 8 2015:

Roxanne attended the hearing for her son Marc today and they both found out that the evidence in the crime will be presented to a grand jury.  If the grand jury chooses to indict him, his case will moved from juvenile court to an adult court and he could face life in prison if convicted.  He has another status hearing on April 20th.

Update April 17 2015:

The grand jury has returned indictments on Marc for first degree felony murder charges, attempted murder, attempted armed robbery and illegal gun possession by a minor and he will face those charges as an adult.  They also returned with charges for Rodriguez of first degree murder as well as the same charges for a third man, Johann Ruiz, 2.  They have not explained what role Ruiz played in the crime but the law states that anyone who participates can face the same charges as the person who actually fired the gun.

The picture became a little clearer though with reports in which it has been stated that Jean and Joshua shot and killed each other.  Marc is accused of chasing and shooting Anthony was suffered a wound to the arm.  It does not specify who may have shot Ruiz or why he was at the scene went the drug deal went down.

Marc appeared in court again on Thursday due to a misprint in the court docket but he was transferred over to an adult prison on Thursday night.  He is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday where he will have a formal reading of the adult charges he is facing.

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