June 17, 2010

Alleged lover testifies against Darlene George

By Trevor Maxwell tmaxwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED — A man who says he was Darlene George's lover for more than a decade testified today that the Old Orchard Beach woman wanted her husband killed.

Rennie Cassimy, 49, said the plot to murder Winston George was hatched during a conversation between himself, Darlene George and her brother, Jeffrey Williams, in New York one week before the plot was carried out on June 20, 2008.

"She said she want him to go, she want him out," Cassimy testified at the murder trial of George and Williams at York County Superior Court.

Cassimy, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, speaks with a heavy accent. Winston George also was originally from Trinidad.

"She told me she wanted all the property," Cassimy said. The Georges owned two houses in Old Orchard Beach and a rental property in Brooklyn, N.Y. Winston George also owned two properties in Trinidad.

The court took a break at 12:15 p.m., just as Cassimy was beginning to describe the murder plot. He has already pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit murder. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors agreed to a prison sentence of eight years for Cassimy, and he will likely be deported after serving the time.

Cassimy has acknowledged that the plot was for him and Williams to stage a home invasion at the Georges' home in Old Orchard Beach, and to pretend they were looking for drugs and money. He says the men tied up Darlene George and her 13-year-old son Giovanni, then waited for Winston George to return home from his job in Sanford.

According to police and the state Medical Examiner's Office, George was strangled with a rope and suffocated with a plastic bag. A rum bottle was shoved in his mouth through a small hole in the bag.

Cassimy said his affair with Darlene George went on for more than a decade, and he often traveled to Maine and stayed at motels, where George would visit him for sex. He said they spoke every day, sometimes more than 10 times, on a cell phone that George paid for. They continued their affair even after Cassimy was diagnosed as HIV positive about three or four years ago, he testified.

Darlene George denies that she was involved in a romantic relationship with Cassimy. This morning, prosecutors and a court reporter read aloud the transcript of her testimony to a grand jury on July 7, 2008.

In that testimony, George said she was a close friend to Cassimy and his family, and that she had been helping him with health issues, and with paperwork. Cassimy does not read English.

George said she had no idea that Cassimy and Williams traveled to Maine on June 19, 2008. She also said that three men, not two, ambushed her and Giovanni at the home. They wore black nylon stockings over their faces, and she did not recognize any of them, George said in the transcript. Giovanni has testified that he saw only two men during the apparent home invasion.

George said her marriage to Winston George was good, and that she was even seeing a fertility expert in an effort to become pregnant.

Cassimy is expected to continue his testimony this afternoon. The trial is scheduled to end sometime next week.

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