Alleged cult church killer spends another Christmas in jail

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Andre Ruddock, who has been implicated in the killing of a woman during a deadly church ritual in St James last year, is to spend another Christmas in police custody.

A case and plea management hearing which was scheduled for Thursday failed to get underway in relation to the matter, resulting in Ruddock being remanded in police custody until January 23, 2023.

The developments occurred when the accused appeared in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston on Friday via the Zoom platform.

Ruddock, who was a member of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in St James, is charged with the murder of Tanika Gardener, who was employed by Appliance Traders Limited (ATL).

The court heard that the prosecution and defense were still in discussions, leading to the subsequent delay in the plea and case management hearing.

As a result, Ruddock was remanded until the next year.

He is expected to make a physical appearance in court at that time.

In March, a forensic psychiatric evaluation determined that the accused man was fit to plea.

The detailed evaluation is said to contain, among other things, the accused man’s state of mind at the time of the controversial incident at the Montego Bay-based church last October.

Police reports are that on Sunday, October 17, 2021, the congregants were gathered during a suspected ritual at the church on the instructions of a now-deceased controversial pastor, Kevin Smith.

During the event at the church, Smith reportedly instructed a congregant to slit Gardener’s throat.

The individual refused, and Ruddock allegedly grabbed a knife that was in their hand and used it to slash the woman’s throat in the full view of other members of the church.

Another member of the church, Michael Brown, was also killed during the night’s bizarre events, which culminated with an alleged shootout between members of the church and the police.

Another congregant, Kevaughn Palmer, who reportedly attacked the law enforcers with a knife, was shot and killed.

Many members of the church, including Smith and Ruddock, were subsequently arrested.

Ruddock reportedly gave a caution statement in the presence of two justices of the peace (JPs) for the parish of St James a day after the incident.

He was eventually transported to Kingston, where he was charged with murder.

Smith died in a motor vehicle crash on Monday, October 25 before he was charged.

A policeman, later identified as Constable Orlando Irons, also died as a result of the crash on the Linstead bypass road in St Catherine.

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