Lismore men face court for murder
TWO local men charged over the murder of suspected drug dealer Saaid Zaiter will face Lismore Local Court in January.
Ricky Leigh Humphries, 26, and his Lismore housemate Matthew Grahame Warner, also 26, are two of five people charged with Zaiter’s death.
Humphries is charged with murdering Zaiter at Chinderah on the afternoon of December 16 last year. Warner is charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.
He is accused of harbouring one of the pair’s co-accused, Rodney Boyd White, between December 16 last year and April 24 this year.
White, 42 of Chinderah, was charged in September with murdering Zaiter. He and another co-accused, Jessica Birkensleigh, 22, who has no fixed address, were extradited to Sydney from Melbourne on September 11.
A fifth person, Peter John Elefsen, 37, was charged on September 16 with being an accessory to murder after homicide detectives raided his home at Green Pigeon, near Kyogle, seizing a Toyota Rav4.
The charges followed months of investigation by police after a Land Rover Discovery was found burnt out at Barkers Vale.
Zaiter’s body has never been found, but police have said he ‘dropped off the planet’ on December 16 last year – the same day the Land Rover was found.
The Land Rover had been loaned to Zaiter by his niece.
Prosecutors have previously told the Lismore Local Court that police had spanned a complicated case involving phone taps, 120 witnesses and the interstate arrests of White and Birkensleigh.
Police have alleged Warner was involved in a cover-up of the murder and he had cleaned up the Chinderah caravan park cabin Zaiter is alleged to have been murdered in soon after the killing.
However, defence lawyers have rejected that, agreeing Warner went to the cabin at White’s request, but saying nothing had happened there and that there was nothing to suggest Warner had been told Zaiter was dead.
Warner and Humphries both had their cases mentioned at Lismore Local Court on Wednesday.
Neither has entered a plea and neither applied for bail. They will return to the court on January 19.