ALFRED – Winston George pleaded with his killers to let him see his family, then said a prayer in the moments before he was strangled with a rope and suffocated with a plastic bag, his wife told detectives in a recorded interview.

“I heard him saying, ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’” Darlene George said on the tape, on which she recounted the events of the night of June 20, 2008.

Darlene George said she and her 13-year-old son were tied up in a bedroom and listened to the confrontation between her husband and men who had snuck into their home in Old Orchard Beach, carrying knives and a gun.

Prosecutors say that the home invasion was an elaborate ruse, and that Darlene George not only knew the identities of the assailants, she was the one who put the murder plot into motion.

The alleged intruders were George’s brother Jeffrey Williams and the man who says he was her longtime lover, Rennie Cassimy.

The recorded interview was heard by the jury Tuesday morning in York County Superior Court, where Darlene George and Williams are on trial for murder.

Cassimy has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and agreed to testify against the other two in the trial, which opened Monday and is expected to run into next week. In exchange, a murder charge against him was dropped.

The interview of George was recorded several hours after the killing. At that point, police considered her a victim, and were trying to develop leads on the intruders.

George said the men who ambushed her family spoke in what sounded like fake Jamaican accents, and repeatedly demanded drugs and money.

The investigators asked if Winston George had any enemies, or if he was involved in the drug trade. Darlene George said that her husband occasionally smoked marijuana, but wasn’t a drug dealer. She couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her husband.

“My gut is telling me someone picked the wrong house and they caused me and my family a lot of grief,” George said on the tape.

Dr. Marguerite DeWitt, the state’s deputy chief medical examiner, testified Tuesday morning that Winston George was strangled with a rope and suffocated with a plastic bag.

Whoever killed him tied him up and used a blade to cut the left side of his jaw and head, just enough to break the skin, DeWitt said.

She said George was still alive when the plastic bag was put over his head. A rum bottle was lodged in George’s mouth; the neck of the bottle was inserted through a small opening in the front of the bag, DeWitt said.

The day in court concluded with compelling informal testimony that wasn’t heard by the jurors.

Amy Casey, 30, of Lebanon told the lawyers and Justice G. Arthur Brennan that she worked with Winston George and was in a relationship with him for about a year before he was killed.

She said that she and George planned to divorce their spouses and get married, and that he told her she and her children could live at the house in Old Orchard Beach.

“He said he wanted me to be his next wife,” Casey said.

Casey said Winston George told her that he informed his wife he intended to file for divorce.

The testimony could be strong evidence for the state, in depicting a motive for Darlene George to have her husband killed.

But it remains to be seen whether Casey will be allowed to tell her whole story to the jury.

Justice Brennan said prosecutors first will have to produce evidence that Darlene George knew about the affair. And Brennan said the sides will likely have a legal debate over whether Casey may testify about what Winston George’s plans were.

The prosecution had Casey appear on Tuesday to determine what she would say in formal testimony. Arguments on that issue are likely to be heard by the judge later this week.

The state intends to call several more witnesses, including Cassimy and Darlene George’s teenage son, Giovanni Whiteman.

The lawyers for George and Williams likely will not begin presenting their case until next week.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at: [email protected]