James Lammon found guilty of the gun murder of Jason Doogue
James Lammon has been found guilty by unanimous verdict of murdering 22-year-old Jason Doogue
The jury at the Central Criminal Court took just over two hours and thirty minutes to reach the verdict in the trial of James Lammon of Cardington Way, Athy, Co Kildare.
Lammon had been charged with the murder of Jason Doogue in the Green Hills area of Athy on August 21, 2015.
The jury found that he was the masked and hooded gunman who cycled up to the garden where Mr Doogue was hanging out with friends and shot him three times before cycling away.
When the jury returned at 14:41 today (THU) the foreperson replied yes when asked if a verdict had been reached and recorded on the issue paper. The court clerk then read out the guilty verdict. Members of Mr Doogue's family embraced and some broke down in tears once the verdict was known. "Thank God," said one of them. Justice Butler thanked the jury for their service and exempted them from duty for ten years.
On hearing the verdict Lammon smiled towards his legal team and spoke with them briefly before prison officers led him away from the courtroom.
After a brief break Mr Doogue's sister Stephanie took the stand and told the court that Jason was the "best brother in the world" and a "loving uncle and best friend". She said he "took a very big part of all of us with him" when he died and would forever be in the thoughts of his family and friends. Those who knew Jason would pass on his memory to the younger generation of the family, "because they will never have a chance to know him" she said, adding that he had many goals, but all opportunity was taken from him.
She finished by thanking the gardai and all those involved in the prosecution.
Detective Sergeant John Boland told the court that Lammon has 20 previous convictions. The most recent was in March 2011 when he was given a four-year sentence for possession of drugs worth more than e13,000 at Naas District Court. His other convictions include possession of a stun gun, breaches of the Public Order Acts, violent disorder, criminal damage and larceny.
Justice Butler described the killing as "brutal and pre-meditated" and said "there is only one sentence" before handing down the mandatory life sentence. He backdated it to when Lammon went into custody on August 21, 2015.
The trial heard that Jason Doogue and Mr Lammon got involved in a row in Athy town earlier on August 21, 2015. Lammon was driving his green van and Mr Doogue was on foot. Three witnesses, including Mr Doogue's best friend Calvin Cullen, said they heard Lammon threaten to kill Jason.
A few hours later Jason and a group of friends were in Calvin Cullen's front garden in Green Hills. It was a fine afternoon and they were kicking ball and chatting when a man with his face covered and a hood pulled up over his head approached on a Cross mountain bike. When he got to about two doors away he pulled a gun from the waistband of his trousers, pointed it at Jason Doogue and fired.
Jason fell off the wall on which he had been sitting and the shooter leaned over and shot him again. Jason jumped up and ran towards the door of the house but the killer took aim once more and fired. Jason collapsed into the hallway of the house and died a short time later. The asssassin cycled away.
The State's evidence against Lammon was circumstantial. Prosecuting counsel Kerida Naidoo SC closed the trial saying that after the row in Athy Mr Lammon went home to get a gun which he put in his green van. He then drove to his sister's house in Carbury Park where he dropped off a black toolbox which Mr Naidoo said had probably been where the gun was stored until then. Forensics would show that two cloths inside the toolbox contained Lammon's DNA and firearms residue.
He then cycled to the scene of the shooting and carried out his threat to kill Jason Doogue before making his way back to his home in Cardington Way and disposing of the gun, bicycle and his clothes. Gardai retrieved the bike from the River Barrow and found gloves in a nearby field that had firearms residue and Lammon's DNA on them. They also discovered the gun used in the shooting, a Makarov pistol with a silver silencer, buried in an area known as Shaw's Wood. The wooded area was about a ten minute walk through fields from the back of Lammon's house.
The prosecution said that once Lammon had disposed of these he made his way on foot back to his sister's house to collect his van. He was arrested shortly afterwards and has been in custody since.