I DIDN'T KILL PETER TOSH by Dennis Lobban
SOME 16 YEARS after being convicted of murdering Peter Tosh, Free I and Wilton 'Doc' Brown, Dennis Lobban still maintains his innocence, while serving a life sentence.
"I am innocent where this case is concerned. I have no knowledge about it. I was not there."
Lobban or 'Leppo', as he is called, has spent almost 30 years of his 48 years behind bars. THE WEEKEND STAR spoke with him, in only the second interview he has granted to the media, about his life, his relationship with Tosh and his hopes for the future.
Lobban, clad in a green tam, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers shirt and a pair of shorts walks into Superintendent Gillette Ramsay's office at the General Penitentiary, which is located on Tower Street, Kingston, seemingly wanting to lift a load off his shoulders.
"I cannot elaborate on something I did not do," he says.
Lobban says that he met Tosh as a youth residing in Trench Town. "Well is years I know Peter, and Bunny and Bob from Trench Town days, from I was a likkle boy, you get me."
"Yes, I was a fan of Peter Tosh. My favourite song was Legalise It.
He says that while they had an 'amicable relationship' there were times when he and Tosh did not see eye to eye.
Lobban spoke of one of the gravest disputes between them: "He went abroad on a tour and leave his Volvo. While I was at Skateland at Half-Way Tree, my bredda saw the Volvo and brought my attention to it and I said to my brother the boss is abroad so it couldn't be his Volvo. So I stop it and I realise [who] had drove it. So I spoke to him. I say to him whappen, ... as the man back turn, you took away the man Volvo, ups and downs in it. He says to me that I must not tell the boss, him will carry it back.
"That was the Friday. The Sunday, he went to Hellshire, he and some girls on his way coming back, the Volvo turn over, all four wheels up in the air. When the boss came from foreign, the boss come call me, we were having dialogue into the dining room, when I was going away, when we reach at the gate, at his gate at 5 Plymouth Avenue, I told him what had happened and he gave me a money. I even told him that he must not say nothing to (name omitted), but he told (name omitted).
"When I returned back to the home, he says to me that every lying lips is an abomination to Jah and him don't like a liad. When he says that to me every vein, every bone, everyting to me move."
However, Lobban says he still went to see Tosh after this and still went to the home and would not allow that to ruin their relationship.
He says he heard of Tosh's death much like the rest of the world. "That night I was in Jones Town at a grocery shop at 3 Crooks Street. I was there along with friends drinking and the shopkeeper. I never leave until 10:00 the night, while I was there I heard the news. I was surprised, I became astonished with the fact that something like that really happen."
So, if he was not there, why was he convicted of the murder? Lobban sees it like this, "Well the system in the court is totally different because everybody believe that I am the personality who have done that atrocity, that is why I am here.
"And there is two other witnesses which testify against me that they saw me in the house. They are lying, they are mendacious. ... They don't know who came in the house and fire shot and kill Peter Tosh and others."
Lobban argues that they testified against him because of a dispute between himself and someone close to Tosh. "I am here 16 years now without any substantial reason. We had a previ-ous dispute and they use that as a weapon against me."
The popular theory was that Lobban killed Tosh because Tosh reneged on an agreement between them. While not wanting to go into too much in detail, he admits "I took a rap for my bredren, protecting his career and nothing has been done for me and they says that I get corrupted and assassinate him because him never pay no attention to my kids and my family and tings like that."
However, he says that he cannot see why that would be used as a reason to convict him. "If you are going to do something for a bredren to protect his career, why is it is that when something like this happen now they are going to use it?"
That stint Lobban refers to was his second time in prison. He had been there before as a 16-year-old student at Denham Town Secondary. He says he was wrongfully imprisoned, on a suspicion of larceny charge.
Lobban says that these days he does not get many visitors because the persons who come are his family, however they live abroad.
His friends, he says, have admitted that they would come to visit him, but do not want people to know that they are his friends.
He now spends his time writing and performing dub poetry, reading books and listening to the news.
"I have nothing against the society because I was told to forgive, so I also forget everything," he says.
Naturally he has hopes of leaving prison, but through the proper channels. "I am not going to go jump no wall. I want to walk through the gate.
"I need to go and live some life now with my family."
What do you think bout it, Guilty or not