The Scary Side of Paradise

The Bahamas. A feast of sun, fun, and upscale resorts, right? Try adding murder to the mix, toss in a dubious justice system, and spread over a teeming underclass.

At night he curled up in front of the television, lost in cartoons or pro wrestling, sometimes sharing a chuckle with his grandfather, a minister at a nearby Pentecostal church and a messenger with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By midnight Anton was usually asleep on the dirty mattress in his bedroom just past the trash heap spilling down the hallway and into the back yard. According to his family, he suffers from some sort of sleep disorder (he falls asleep in school, at church, and under trees on the beach) and drifts off quickly at night.

In the morning his grandmother often struggled to rouse him from what seemed an impenetrable slumber. He had to be at work at 9:30 to stock shelves at CostRite, a job that helped him steer clear of the young drug dealers and gangbangers who prowled the neighborhoods. On the way to work, he'd pass piles of garbage, overgrown lots, and buildings splattered with graffiti announcing gangs such as the Gun Dogs, Border Hawks, or Nike Crew, and expressing messages such as "Why all the hate?" and "Kill or be killed." Although Anton had never been drawn to gang life -- his family says he mostly kept to himself -- many other boys had. "My high school had at least 100 gang members," says one Nassau Village 23-year-old who began selling drugs at the age of 13. "Out of 100 kids in my class, I'd say maybe 20 or 30 graduated," he adds. "Those who passed, they got Cs and some low-paying job while I made $375 or $400 a day selling drugs."

Sometimes on weekends, while other kids were skirting the law, Anton hopped the jitney bus to Paradise Island to hang out with Patrick or to sell to tourists coconuts he would pluck from palm trees. Once he even managed to get a job doing landscaping work for a wealthy white Bahamian who lived there. "He liked to be around all those people," his mother Carolyn says. "His only problem is that he would go into areas where he was not supposed to be. He doesn't understand that if there's a sign that says Club Med, Private that means he shouldn't go there."

When Carolyn was growing up, her mother worked on Paradise Island as a waitress at the Terrace restaurant at the now-defunct Britannia Beach Hotel. Carolyn would venture to the island and get into all kinds of mischief. "I loved the excitement of the place," she recalls. "I loved to watch dancing, and so I would sneak backstage at the cabaret theater and watch the dancers practice. Then I'd wander through the hotels to places I knew I wasn't supposed to be."

Anton didn't give much thought to where he ought to be when he crossed the bridge to Paradise Island on August 22, though perhaps he should have. A few days after the bodies of Joanne Clarke and Lori Fogleman were discovered, the London Evening Standard reported that Sol Kerzner had flown in a team of private detectives to conduct their own investigation and had made an impassioned phone call to Prime Minister Ingraham pleading for a speedy resolution of the case. (Butch Kerzner denies that his father did either.)

Around that same time, Ingraham offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and requested assistance from the FBI and Scotland Yard. (In an embarrassing twist, Brian Morris, the lead detective flown in from Scotland Yard, was later robbed at gunpoint while sightseeing at Fort Fincastle, a popular attraction outside Nassau.)

Less than a month later, just before 4:00 a.m. on September 19, a swarm of policemen surrounded a little yellow house in Nassau Village. At first grandmother Uris McIntosh thought they were prowlers. Every morning around 4:00 she gets out of bed to look in on the children and read from her Bible, and in the past she'd seen men in the street toting everything from TVs and VCRs to bathtubs and toilets. "We are living in a place where you can't sleep too hard," she says. That morning, however, she was greeted by an invading force of Bahamian police, who burst through the front door with their guns drawn.

"Anton, what is this about?" she cried as they wrenched her grandson from his bed and clapped handcuffs around his wrists.

"Mummy, I don't know!" was his panicked reply. "I don't know!"
By Monday morning, when "Arrest in P.I. Murders" appeared on the front page of the Tribune, one of Nassau's two daily papers, news of Anton's incarceration had already been cycling through the city's infamous rumor mill, often the only source of information in a country where the government is notoriously guarded and freedom-of-information laws are nonexistent.

Police reported that they'd sent Anton's blood, taken after he was first arrested on the beach, to a private laboratory in Baltimore and had discovered that his DNA matched that of the semen found inside Joanne Clarke. Anton, they claimed, hadn't gone to the beach to collect money from half-brother Patrick as he had stated, but to indulge some perverse impulse to return to the scene of the crimes. He hadn't been at home, police alleged, the previous afternoon watching TV with his mother as he had told police, but had been hiding in the bushes behind Cabbage Beach, stalking a blond-haired teaching assistant with big blue eyes, whom he then raped, strangled, and left in a shallow grave under a shroud of dead leaves -- exactly one month after he'd done much the same thing to Lori Fogleman, a second-grade teacher from Richmond, Virginia.

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