Botched Heist Led to Deadly Gunfire, Bail Hearing for Diplomat’s Son Hears

May 27, 2015 Updated: May 27, 2015

MIAMI—A Canadian diplomat’s son charged with murder watched attentively Wednesday as the prosecution methodically detailed the blood-soaked scene of a double killing in which his elder brother and another man were shot dead.

Among exhibits shown at the special bail hearing for Marc Wabafiyebazu was surveillance video showing the frantic 15-year-old surrendering to police shortly after the March 30 shooting, and photographs of the body of one of the victims.

Two rows behind, Wabafiyebazu’s mother Roxanne Dube, a veteran diplomat who was appointed Canada’s consul general to Miami late last year, sat quietly and with little expression as the proceedings unfolded.

Wabafiyebazu, of Ottawa, has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including felony first-degree murder, which could see him spend the rest of his days in a state known for its harsh punishment for violent crime.

While the prosecution does not allege he shot anyone, it does allege he and his 17-year-old brother Jean Wabafiyebazu had gone to rip off a drug dealer at an apartment rented by the second victim, Joshua Wright, who was also 17.

Court heard—and the video taken from a neighbour’s apartment shows—that Marc Wabafiyebazu waited in the passenger seat of his mother’s black BMW with diplomatic plates while his brother went inside the apartment.

Veteran homicide detective Rolando Garcia testified that the dealer, Anthony Rodriguez, 19, explained in a statement what happened.

Jean Wabafiyebazu asked to see the drugs and Rodriguez asked to see the money. The buyer showed a wad of cash, and the dealer went back outside to his car to retrieve the 800 grams of marijuana he had brought and handed it over.

“Aren’t you going to check it or test it,” Rodriguez asked, according to his statement.

At that point, Jean Wabafiyebazu reached into a green duffel bag he was carrying and pulled out a gun, court heard.

The unarmed Rodriguez went for the gun, managing to get behind Wabafiyebazu and put him in a headlock. Wright, who was watching, also pulled a gun.

“Jean fires, Joshua returns fire,” Garcia told prosecutor Marie Mato.

Court heard that none of the witnesses has alleged that the accused ever pointed a gun at anyone or shot anyone.

Wright and Wabafiyebazu were hit fatally. Another man in the apartment, Johann Ruiz-Perez, 21, was shot and injured.

In the bathroom, Wright’s hysterical girlfriend called 911. Rodriguez, who said Wabafiyebazu shot him in the arm in an effort to get him to let go, grabbed the phone from her, then fled the apartment, only going back inside to retrieve some of his drugs.

On the way out, he ran into the younger sibling, who had heard the gunfire and was trying to find out what had happened.

“Who shot him? Who did this?” Marc Wabafiyebazu asked Rodriguez, who then left in his car before calling police.

The following morning, Garcia said he finally managed to talk to Dube.

“She was very professional. She asked if this could be resolved in Canada,” Garcia said. “I told her I didn’t believe that’s possible.”

Dube is expected to testify at the bail hearing, which continues May 29. She told The Canadian Press that it’s been very difficult, declining further comment.

Court heard that none of the witnesses has alleged that the accused ever pointed a gun at anyone or shot anyone, although Lt. Carlos Castellanos testified that officers found gunshot residue on his hands.

Under defence questioning, Castellanos testified that Wabafiyebazu said he fired into the air to try to attract police attention.

It will be up to Justice Teresa Pooler to decide whether the accused can have bail pending trial, which could start as early as July.