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.

Two months later Anton was charged with murdering both Fogleman and Clarke.
After his arrest, Anton's family reached out to a number of pricey criminal attorneys, hoping one might offer his services free of charge. Michael Kemp, a lawyer well known for representing drug dealers and armed robbers, turned down the case. "I don't need that kind of notoriety," he explains. Others were similarly circumspect.

Eventually Godfrey "Pro" Pinder, a flamboyant lawyer who had come to know Anton's grandfather in the Seventies, stepped in and offered to waive his fees (some of his expenses will be covered by a defense fund that has been set up in Anton's neighborhood). "Other lawyers were worried about the political ramifications of this case," he says. "I don't worry about that. I'm the people's champion, like Muhammed Ali."

The attorney's first challenge is to get through two sets of preliminary hearings designed to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to hold Anton for trial. The first round concerning the murder of Lori Fogleman concluded last week. On the first day of testimony, Pinder shocked the prosecution by unexpectedly appearing as defense counsel. "They were surprised as hell to see me," he says. "They expected Anton to be represented by some lousy lawyer they would appoint." Monday, December 7, a second hearing will begin, this one devoted to the murder of Joanne Clarke.

While Pinder says he expects to mount a credible defense, he is hamstrung by the lack of irrefutable alibis. There are no ticket stubs to corroborate the trip to Andros, and no eyewitness has come forward to place Anton in his mother's company on the afternoon of August 21. And then there's the government's magic bullet: DNA.

Although Bahamian law prohibits the press from publishing details of a pending criminal case, news of the government's alleged DNA evidence was widely circulated immediately following Anton's arrest. People who believed he was innocent found themselves having second thoughts. "It just doesn't seem like he could have done these things," one neighbor was overheard saying. "But DNA don't lie."

In the court of public opinion, Anton McIntosh has already been found guilty. And without a strong defense, he will in all likelihood hang. Death by hangman's noose is still the penalty for murder in the former British colony, which recently stepped up its execution schedule in response to an unrelated ruling from the Privy Council, the final court of appeals for the British Commonwealth. (Amnesty International estimates there are 40 prisoners on death row in the Bahamas.) On October 15, after a two-and-one-half-year hiatus, two men were hanged, plucked from the same prison wing where Anton has spent the last two months confined to a dank, foul-smelling cell where, his grandmother reports, he has only an old mattress and a plastic bucket.

Uris McIntosh says the police began treating Anton better after he agreed to sign a piece of paper, some sort of confession. Questioned about the statement, police were cagey and vague. "It will come out in court," is all a spokesman would say. Anton told his grandmother police officers had beaten him, taking turns tightening their grip around his throat in much the same way they claimed he'd choked the life from Joanne Clarke and Lori Fogleman. Every Wednesday his grandmother visits, bringing enough food for him to share with the other inmates. Mostly, though, Uris McIntosh just prays. "I trust God," she says. "I know the truth will stand, and God will deliver him from where he is."

Godfrey Pinder might welcome divine intervention, but he's not going to rely on it. Instead he will turn to witnesses who will testify about Anton's character, and some who will say they spent time with him on Andros at the moment Lori Fogleman disappeared.

According to Pinder, the prosecution hasn't volunteered much information so far. "If they have something, they haven't shown their hand yet," he says. During the Fogleman hearing, the prosecution presented police officers and witnesses who had found the American tourist's possessions, but no eyewitnesses placing Anton at the scene of the crime. As for next week's Clarke hearing, police are expected to claim they have DNA tests proving Anton committed the murder. Pinder doesn't believe such evidence exists.

In fact Pinder says the only evidence against his client is a videotape of Anton providing a statement to police, and a transcript of that statement, which is mostly a series of "yes" and "no" responses to questions as opposed to a voluntary confession. In addition the attorney corroborates the claim made by Anton's mother: His client was severely beaten while being interrogated. Still, he says a trial sometime next year is inevitable. "No matter what evidence comes out in these hearings, the magistrate won't let the blood fall on her hands," Pinder predicts. "She'll want to let a jury deal with it."

Among the trees along the dirt path leading to Cabbage Beach, at the very spot where Lori Fogleman died, there now dangles a delicate memorial, a vibrant clump of red and white silk flowers wrapped around a blue ribbon. Beyond the flowers, a tree's branches hang low, and on the ground, amid large stones once used as burial slabs, dead leaves, pine needles, and snail shells form a textured carpet of nature's making.

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