Mesac Damas is a no show at court
Demas choose to appear in cout the ...
BOOKMARK DAMAS SECTION
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — He was a polite house guest, if one with a puzzling background.
When Mesac Damas arrived at the modest home rented by his cousin in Port-au-Prince’s Clercine District, he spoke cryptically about his background.
He loved his family, he told the homeowner, but he had done something bad in his home. His children were not well, he once offered. He read the Bible feverishly.
Both his hands were scratched, and the fingers on one were marked by deeper cuts.
“He kept saying he had to go back to Miami because he was in a fight with his wife,” recalled the homeowner, Fadia Morency, in Creole.
He was running from something far worse — as Damas spoke to Morency on Friday, the bodies of his wife and five children lay in their Naples home. Their throats were cut.
On Tuesday, Damas publicly confessed to the killings, blaming evil spirits and the devil.
He said he had since found Jesus Christ and wants to die so he can go to heaven.
When police burst into the home on Monday, he held his hands above his head, a small black Bible in one, a bag containing his passport and medication in the other.
“He looked like he was about to leave, because he just put his suit on,” said police inspector Livenston Gauthier, the officer in charge of the scene.
Morency’s account that Damas arrived on Friday is disputed by Damas’ two cousins, Marise Paul — who rents part of the home — and Daniel Antoine, her brother. Both sat down on Wednesday to discuss Damas’ confession and the role they played in his brief stay in Haiti.
Antoine, 26, said Damas never contacted them or came to the house until Sunday, and that he only told them he had been in a fight with his wife that left her unconscious on the floor.
“When he got here on Sunday, the only thing he said was (he) had trouble with his wife, so he punched her and then poured some water on her head,” Antoine said in French.
Antoine continued, “He said ‘The children are home. I left them in the house.’”
Both cousins said their family in the U.S. never called to tell them about what happened; that Damas never called them when he arrived in Haiti, despite his own admissions he went there to see family; and that everything seemed fine when they first looked at him.
“We were not worried about him, because he was normal ...” Antoine said.
Morency, 32, offered a different account. She said Damas arrived at the house, a single-story, concrete structure, with his cousin on Friday morning, following a flight from Miami.
Paul, Damas’ 24-year-old cousin, rents space in the home’s rear with her husband and their young child. The husband’s cousin, 16-year-old Jorable Jean-Baptiste, sleeps in an adjoining room, closer to the entrance.
A living room separates Jean-Baptiste’s room from the home’s entrance.
That Friday morning, Paul, Damas and a friend of Damas’, entered the home and introduced the suspect to Morency. Damas was given Jean-Baptiste’s bed, and the teenager moved to the living room couch.
Damas’ new room was sparse, with a curtain separating it from the living room, and another curtain over a nearby window. The room had a small table with plastic chairs and an oven range.
Damas spent much of his time in the house, sleeping, Morency said. He had a good appetite, and he often read from his Bible and a hymn book.
They spoke at length twice. Once, he began to tell her about his children but stopped short.
“He was going to explain something bad that happened to the children but decided not to,” she said.
That morning they spoke briefly, as they had Friday. He told her he had done something bad at home and needed to return to Miami. He asked her to go with him.
She considered it.
“Well, I found him strange, very strange,” Morency said. “But I found him kind of nice, as well.”
Damas wasn’t to go on his own terms, though. Shortly after their conversation, and after Damas had dressed in his suit, someone began banging loudly at the iron gate outside the home.
Officers with the Haitian National Police quickly entered, some of them scaling the wall outside the property to get inside, said Jean-Baptiste.
Morency recalled that Damas was kneeling against a bed and praying. Gauthier, the police inspector, said when he entered the home he saw Damas standing with his hands over his head, a Bible in one of them.
Beyond a passport and some personal papers, it was all Damas had. A search of his pockets found nothing, Gauthier said.
The inspector didn’t look closely at Damas’ hands, but said the suspect “didn’t have a rested face.”
Gauthier recognized some of the things Damas said in English, including the words “sick man” and “blood pressure.”
It was a tip that set police onto Damas, according to the inspector. About 15 men from the Clercine district station, where Gauthier works, and the Central Department of Judicial Policing, just east, joined the raid, he said.
All knew what the man inside was said to have done.
“In my life, for myself, this is the most horrible thing I’ve heard,” Gauthier said.
Morency wondered if something evil had come over Damas, who otherwise called himself a Christian man.
The police raid still bothers her.
“This was a nightmare for me,” she said.
DAMAS FAMILY KILLINGS COVERAGE
ONE YEAR LATER:
- Year after slayings of Guerline Damas, five kids, relatives ask ‘did it really, really happen?’
- Confessed killer Mesac Damas wants to die, so should court system let him?
- Damas family slayings: Year later, still haunting lives of friends, family, deputies
- Jail phone call: Accused killer Mesac Damas talks to father about his slain family, Satan and adultery
MESAC DAMAS CONFESSION VIDEO:
DAILY NEWS STAFF JOURNALISTS TALK ABOUT THE CASE:
- THE FIELD: Naples Daily News staff writer describes how he obtained an interview with Mesac Damas
- THE FIELD: Visual Journalist Greg Kahn discusses being the first journalist at the Damas crime scene, and other observations from the field.
- THE FIELD: Staff Writer Steven Beardsley answers questions about his interview with Mesac Damas