PART FOUR: “DAY OF JUDGEMENT”
October 4, 1983. “I was there you know,” Reid begins telling the story to Roger Steffens during a 1985 interview. “When Hugh Mundell was murdered. I was in the car. Hugh and I went down to Montego Bay to spend some time with his mother. When we leave and come up back to Kingston he went up to his home upon the hill, and I went to my house in Waterhouse. And then, he came back down in the night and tell me when he went up to his house he saw his window came out, and his stove disappear and his blender and all those things. So the next day I and him went up to his home, and some people from next door show us that they saw a guy walkin’ from over Mundell’s premises with a suitcase in his hand. And to the description that we get, we get to find out which guy it is. Then Mundell go to the guy and try to talk to him peaceful about this thing and the guy pretendin’ like he don’t know about it.
As Reid explains in painstaking detail, Mundell asks the guy to come into the car so that they can drive around and “ask somebody something.” The guy gets in the car. They drive to the police station and Mundell turns the guy in to the police. He is arrested because, according to Reid, “the police they know him as a housebreaker and t’ing.”
Two days later, Mundell and Reid go to collect some money owed them by a local promoter. The promoter tells them that he expects the money to come any time. So the two leave and decide to return later. Upon returning to the promoter’s house, Mundell is paid the money owed him and he and Reid head back to Waterhouse. However, while they are leaving the promoter’s house they see a guy “walk out in the street and flag down the car.” Mundell stops the car only to then realize that this is the brother of the guy they turned in to the police.
Reid continues with his story:
“So this guy came to the car now and him say, ‘Mundell, where is my brother?’
“So Mundell said ‘Well, your brother is in custody and I not gonna let him go until I get my things.’
“Mundell’s lady was in the front of the car, I was in the back of the car, and Mundell was on the right-hand side.
“So the guy say ‘Well if I can’t get my brother, you ain’t gonna leave here.’
“So Mundell say ‘What you talking about? I have to get back my things before I let your brother loose.’
“So Mundell was trying to drive up caw the guy was there in a lot of argument and t’ing. So Mundell was trying to drive off, and the guy just go inna his waist and come up with a gun and just fire the shot. And when he fired the shot now, the car just drive away, though he was aiming at Mundell like this, he was at the front of the window, over the left-hand side, with Mundell on the right-hand side. So the gun aiming at Mundell wife face.
“So while he shuffle for his gun, and Mundell step on the gas, the car kind of move off. But though it was an automatic car and it was straggling, it didn’r pick up the ride at the time. So while Mundell step on the gas, the car kind of make a jerk, and the guy ease out him gun. So to move the car, Mundell kind of slide him out of his range from the front of the car, so it reach down to my window at the back on the left-hand side. So when the guy fire the shot, it lick out the back door glass on the left-hand side, and hit Mundell slant-way so, into his head. So same time I just get down betwixt inna the back, so the car swing into the banking, run up into the fence. And I just keep laying down inna the back of the car. And then I see blood running all about inna de car, just some clot-up blood and all dem t’ings.”
As Reid describes, he lay there for a while and plays dead. He then takes off running, jumps a truck to the police station, and brings the police back to the scene of the murder. Reid stays at the hospital at Mundell’s side from 5 p.m. until just after 5 a.m. when Mundell is removed from life support, his brain too badly damaged to continue living this life. He was 21.
I’m reminded of Mundell’s own words, which make up the verse in his song “24 Hours a Day:”
“The world goes ‘round, 24 hours a day.
And when it comes to night,
I’ll start to pray.
This is what I say when I pray:
I pray that you come by my side,
And close to me, and a never say bye.”
Hugh Mundell – “24 Hours a Day”