As music lovers in New York, Milwaukee and Jamaica shake their heads in collective disbelief and sorrow, City homicide detectives are searching for the man accused of killing a prominent Jamaican reggae musician and his lover just outside a Bronx motel.
At the same time relatives and friends of 39 year old Tracey Bennett of Elmont, Long Island and her boyfriend Wayne Hamilton, 50, who lived in Milwaukee and performed under the name of Captain Barkey, are making funeral arrangements to bury the victims of a deadly double homicide, committed in the parking lot of Holiday Motel, located on the service road of the New England Thruway.
Detectives are searching for 42 year old Joseph Kernizan, Bennett’s jilted lover, who allegedly fired at least 10 bullets at Bennett and Hamilton as they emerged from a motel room during the early hours of Saturday morning. The police believe Kernizan, a 42 year old Haitian immigrant, hid in the dark areas of the parking lot and confronted the couple after he may have been tipped off where he could find them. Kernizan reportedly brushed aside the woman’s plea for mercy and compassion and then proceeded to kill them in a hail of bullets, according to witnesses and the police.
“Don’t do it. Don’t do it,” Bennett was overheard pleading for her life.
Both victims were about to get into the woman’s car when Kernizan confronted them and opened fire, killing Hamilton as he attempted to flee. The triggerman then turned his attention to the woman who was standing by alongside her vehicle with the engine running.
“I looked out my window and saw a lady standing there,” said a motel guest, Ricky Gugliotta. “She was begging him not to shoot her. But then he shot her twice and she went down.”
Another witness, Damone Jackson, told police and the media that the killer was nervously moving around the parking lot before the couple came out and when they did he opened fire.
“I saw the guy running around. He was dancing all over the place,” Jackson recalled. “Then, I heard the shots. It sounded like about 30 shots. It was like two clips worth” of bullets.
After the killings, the shooter then jumped into a vehicle and sped away.
Tragedy was waiting in wings for Bennett, her lover and her alleged killer for some time.
The woman’s Elmont neighbors told reporters that the mother of three children who got along well with people in the community, was often heard quarreling with Kernizan. The cops were often called to her home and she eventually took out an order of protection because she feared for her life.
“We always heard them fighting,” said a neighbor.
As for Hamilton, friends in the music business described him as a jovial, fun-loving married man who recently traveled to Europe where he performed on stage.
“He was a joyful dude. I don’t know why that happened, man. I can’t believe,” said a friend.
The image painted of Bennett was that of a hard-working and quiet woman who often left her home early in the morning in nurse’s attire and later returned home to her children. Friends said that Hamilton flew into New York from Milwaukee, apparently to spend some time behind closed doors with Bennett but someone probably tipped off her jilted lover where he could find them.
“He (Hamilton) went straight to the Bronx nightclub Memories, where he joined up with Bennett” for what turned out to be an ill-fated rendezvous, stated a City paper.
Apparently Bennett and Hamilton had been dating for at least 18 months, a situation which left Kernizan, the father of two of the woman’s children seething with anger and jealousy.
The alleged murderer was described by people who knew him well as a “suspicious” acting individual who told friends recently that he had opened a nightclub in West Hempstead.