Sheffield Crown Court has heard how Jabari Fanty, Aaron Yanbak and Ricardo Nkanyezi have all denied murdering the 20-year-old at a flat on Grimesthorpe Road South, Burngreave, Sheffield, on November 16, 2020, during an incident allegedly linked to drug-dealing and gangs.
Fanty, Yanbak, Nkanyezi and another defendant called Jordan Foote have also denied conspiring to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, conspiring to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life, and conspiring to supply class A drugs. Nkanyezi has also denied possessing a prohibited firearm.
Defence barrister Frida Hussain QC, representing Nkanyezi, told the jury: “We submit that based on the evidence in this case it is not possible to be sure that Ricardo Nkanyezi is guilty especially on count four murder and count one and two conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition.”
She added: “In order to find someone guilty of murder you may think that what you need is solid and reliable evidence driving you to a sure conclusion of guilt which we suggest is missing in Ricardo’s case.”
Ms Hussain said: “The prosecution suggest the three people involved in the killing of Ramey Salem are shown on that CCTV yet there is no evidence as to the identification of them.
“And while the prosecution relies on items of clothing-comparison while trying to identify two out of three figures there is no suggestion that Ricardo can be identified on the footage from any clothing-comparison.”
Ms Hussain conceded that when Nkanyezi was arrested he allegedly had a manbag with drugs and a phone with drug-related messages and in the garden of his home was a rucksack with his DNA with a firearm inside.
However, she stressed these matters cannot make anyone sure Nkanyezi was one of the three men seen on the CCTV footage who the prosecution says were responsible for the killing of Ramey Salem.
She also added the gun in the rucksack was not one of the guns used to shoot Ramey Salem.
Ms Hussain suggested a string of unanswered questions including who put the firearm in the rucksack, who put the rucksack in the garden, who had access to the property and could someone else have been responsible for putting the bag there?
A witness has stated she saw a man called “Ricks” involved with drugs and that he had been at an address when the witness also saw an unknown male pressing bullets.
However, Ms Hussain pointed out this witness’s description of “Ricks” did not match Ricardo Nkanyezi and the witness did not pick him out of an identity parade.
Ms Hussain told the jury: “The loss of Ramey Salem’s life is a tragedy but getting your decision wrong about who was responsible for that heinous crime would be nothing short of a disaster.”
Mr Wood, prosecuting, previously said one of two guns used in the Ramey Salem shooting had been used in an earlier attempted murder of a man called Ali al-Humakaini.
Fanty, Yanbak and Foote have denied the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini after he was shot at Osgathorpe Park, Burngreave, Sheffield, on October 31, 2020.
Mr Wood claims the same gun was used in a shooting on November 2, 2020, in Rotherham, involving Yanbak and Nkanyezi, and that the second gun used during the Ramey Salem shooting was linked to a firearms incident on October 19, 2020, at Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe.
He also said Foote allegedly fled from a stolen BMW at Walkley Street before officers recovered a handgun, drugs and cash.
Police then found alleged drug dealing paraphernalia at Foote’s home and the handgun linked to the BMW was examined and possible DNA matches were linked to Fanty according to Mr Wood.
Following Fanty’s arrest, Mr Wood said he was allegedly found to have a knife, two mobile phones a ballistic vest, a baton, masks, scales with traces of drugs and Nike trainers matching a footprint from the murder scene.
Mr Wood said when Yanbak was arrested a firearms magazine was allegedly recovered and gunshot residue was found on his clothing.
Fanty, aged 19, who has no previous convictions, of Broadhead Road, Stocksbridge, Sheffield; Yanbak, 20, who has no previous convictions, of Abbeydale Road, Abbeydale, Sheffield; and Nkanyezi, 20, who has one previous conviction, of Morgan Avenue, Parson Cross, Sheffield, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.
Foote, 20, of Basegreen Road, Basegreen, Sheffield, Fanty and Yanbak have all pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Ali al-Humakaini.
Fanty, Yanbak, Nkanyezi and Foote have also all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, not guilty to conspiring to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life, and not guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs.
Fanty has also pleaded not guilty to possessing a bladed article and Nkanyezi has also pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm.
The trial continues.