By Chris Joseph
By Chris Joseph
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Chris Joseph
By Chris Joseph
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
He had come to Cabbage Beach, the last placid, undeveloped strip on Paradise Island, not to toss a Frisbee or don a snorkel. He hadn't come to frolic among the mostly white crowd of Bahamians that on weekends gathers on the pleasant arc of sea and sand that stretches along the far eastern end of the island, away from the tourist congestion at the big hotels. Anton had come to the beach on August 22 to collect money from his half-brother Patrick. Until last year Patrick had been in prison, serving seven years for raping a girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter, but now he spent his days on the beach outside the big hotels -- Atlantis, the Sheraton -- renting Jet Skis to tourists.
Anton didn't see Patrick that afternoon, so he lay down beneath the long shadow of a bent palm and fell asleep. A policeman woke him up and corralled him, along with more than a dozen other young black men picked up in the area, into a long bus inscribed with the words Royal Bahamas Police Force. Anton thought he knew the drill; he had been arrested for vagrancy on Paradise Island the year before. But things were different this time. This time everything was different.
That afternoon at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigative Department, the Bahamian equivalent of the FBI, detectives drew blood and asked Anton all sorts of strange questions. What did he know about the corpses found earlier that day in the overgrown bramble stretching along the edge of the golf course to the beach? Had he been on the beach the day before, when a 24-year-old British tourist named Joanne Clarke went missing? Had he been there a month earlier, when a 32-year-old American schoolteacher named Lori Fogleman vanished? What was he doing there at all when he knew he didn't belong?
Anton lived across the bridge from Paradise Island in Nassau Village, one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the low-income "Over the Hill" section of Nassau, a sprawling slum behind the city's business and tourist districts that is home to the majority of Nassau's 170,000 residents, most of whom are poor and black. Four generations of McIntoshes lived on the property. Anton, his maternal grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, six cousins, and a niece shared a little yellow house while Anton's mother and 13 other family members were crammed into a wooden shack in the back yard. As depressed as it is, Nassau Village, a place where young men sit idle in the daytime, sipping from beer bottles in brown bags, and where it is not unusual to spot a stolen car stripped of its tires, is not the most squalid of Nassau's slums. There are neighborhoods without running water, where unpaved roads are lined with wooden shacks doused in Caribbean shades of red and green and machine-gunned with graffiti.
Such living conditions hardly call to mind the glossy ad campaigns that last year lured 2.5 million Americans, including 400,000 South Floridians, to the Bahamas. Nor do they jibe with the image of a paradise on Earth being hyped in the colorful ads and overblown TV commercials promoting the $450 million expansion of the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, scheduled to open December 12. Sol Kerzner, the developer behind Atlantis, cut a sweet deal with the government of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, acquiring millions of dollars in tax breaks by promising to employ thousands of Bahamians and to reinvigorate the tourist economy upon which the Bahamas has long depended. But what would be the real impact of so much development on poor families like the McIntoshes? And how would the murders of two tourists this summer feed into isolationist fears of the rampant crime across the bridge in Nassau, fears that were already turning Paradise Island into the world's largest gated community?
After being picked up on the beach on Paradise Island on August 22, Anton was again charged with vagrancy and held for three days in the central police station in Nassau. His mother, Carolyn, went to see him at the station and saw the word "murder" scribbled in the logbook beside his name. Why would they be questioning my boy for murder? she wondered. She had heard about the dead tourists on the radio but hadn't made the connection. "He's not like other boys," she says. "He is slow. He is not the kind of boy who does violence." When Anton was a baby, he had seen a government doctor, but the McIntoshes never understood the diagnosis; all they knew was that he was "slow," a "little funny in the head." Doctors blamed Carolyn's syphilis for Anton's affliction and for the blindness in his right eye.
Carolyn was 16 years old when she gave birth to Anton, the first of five children conceived with two deadbeat dads. The year was 1979, and the Bahamas was just beginning to emerge as the most important marijuana and cocaine transshipment point in the Caribbean, a reliable way station where large shipments of Colombian drugs destined for the U.S. were repackaged into smaller loads, then smuggled into Florida on small planes or high-powered speedboats. By 1987, when Anton was eight years old, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimated that more than two-fifths, or 50 tons, of all cocaine entering the U.S. was passing through the Bahamas each year, and just about everybody in the capital city of Nassau knew somebody who was either getting rich off the drug trade or hooked on the white powder that was often handed out in lieu of cash payments. Even the prime minister at the time, Sir Lynden Pindling, was accused of taking millions in payoffs from drug traffickers. (He was never indicted.)
"We became one of the highest user populations per capita in the region," says Dr. Brian Humblestone, the psychologist who established the first alcohol treatment center in the Caribbean in 1967 and helped open the Bahamas' first treatment centers for crack addiction in 1985. "The crack problem was so prevalent that it affected virtually every family," says Humblestone. "There was cocaine literally falling from the sky onto beaches and into the water," he adds, referring to packages of drugs abandoned to the tides after being dropped from planes for speedboat pickup. The drug use and the influx of easy money raised the level of violent crime on New Providence, the home of Nassau, and the most populous of the 700 Bahamian islands littering the Caribbean 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Even though the drug trade, crippled by a U.S. law-enforcement onslaught in the early '90s, all but abandoned the Bahamas and relocated to Mexico, in Nassau the guns and the thirst for fast money remained and violent crime surged. According to a study conducted by Dr. David Allen, a Bahamian professor of psychiatry with Georgetown Medical School in Washington, D.C., violent crime soared more than 200 percent between 1989 and 1994. Until recently, though, the violence rarely crossed the bridge to Paradise Island and was mostly confined to poor black areas of Nassau, creating a dire situation for many Bahamians but hardly a public relations crisis for the tourist industry.
Two years ago, according to a lawsuit pending in federal court in Miami, a 17-year-old girl from Illinois staying with her stepfather at Atlantis was sexually assaulted by a black Bahamian on the beach adjoining the hotel property. The girl's family, blaming lax security, is suing the resort for an undisclosed amount. Last year, according to a recent account in the Bahamian press, two local businessmen cutting through the trees from Cabbage Beach spotted a black man hunched in the shadows, wrapping long swaths of duct tape around a young woman's limbs. They scared him away and cut the woman loose. These stories of sexual violence never garnered press coverage outside of the Bahamas and never reached Joanne Clarke or Lori Fogleman, two young women who, a month apart, entered the quiet path from Cabbage Beach to the parking lot at the Paradise Island Golf Course and never came out.
"For years I was wondering why no one else got hurt," says a sanitation worker on Paradise Island, who, for fear of losing his job, asked not to be named. "There are people sitting up there in the bushes, looking down on people on the beach, and when they go swimming these guys run down and grab stuff off the beach and run back into the bushes. Security is pretty spotty at that end of the beach. It's really a shame this had to happen. I think [the hotels that run the security force] were going to get around to bringing everything up to snuff."
Bringing Paradise Island up to snuff is exactly what South African tycoon Sol Kerzner had in mind when he bought the ailing Paradise Island Resort and Casino in 1994, a resort property that had nearly ruined first Donald Trump and then Merv Griffin. Kerzner was the visionary developer behind Sun City, a South African gambling resort that is one of the most famous symbols of apartheid.
On Paradise Island Kerzner poured more than $200 million into refurbishing Merv Griffin's staid resort; it had been hurt by years of Griffin's slashing of both quality and prices and, following the Gulf War, by the economic recession that hit the United States, source of 80 percent of the country's visitors. Kerzner rechristened the place Atlantis and began drawing tourists back to Paradise Island. Sol's oldest son, Butch Kerzner, president of his father's company, Sun International, says occupancy rates reached 88 percent last year (up from 60 percent in 1994) and are expected to continue to rise. "We saw a country with great potential," says Butch, who lives on a yacht anchored in the Paradise Island marina and shares an office suite with his father. "We saw the reasons for the decline as being product-related, which we thought we could fix. At the time people thought we were crazy."
Next month phase two of Kerzner's grand plan to reinvent Paradise Island will open. (Phases three and four are still in the planning stages.) Anchored by a massive new hotel that looks like a cross between a wedding cake and the castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom, the $450 million Atlantis expansion will employ 2000 Bahamians, offer 1200 rooms -- including a $25,000-a-night suite -- along with a new marina, the world's largest open-air aquarium, a dizzying array of theme park-like water attractions, and what the company says is the largest casino in the Caribbean. "It's got elements of Hawaii, Vegas, Disney, and probably Costa Rica," says Butch Kerzner, whose company owns 70 percent of the island. (A Sheraton, a Club Med, a few small hotels, and a handful of high-priced homes share the other 30 percent.) With so much money riding on Atlantis, Butch's father isn't likely to take any more chances when it comes to security.
"Security is the number one priority," says Heinz Kloihofer, a small-hotel owner who serves on the board of the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association, a hotel organization that is largely controlled by Sol Kerzner. "We want to make this place as safe as Monte Carlo with electronic surveillance and a larger security force patrolling the island 24 hours a day. Nobody wants crime here. We basically want to know who is on the island, and if it's at an unordinary hour and the person has an unordinary look then we would send somebody to check it out. If I see somebody suspicious, I immediately call security."
There's no doubt that Anton McIntosh, tall and dark with a Forrest Gump grin and a vacant stare, is the type of person who might arouse suspicion on Paradise Island, accessed from Nassau via a two-lane toll bridge and currently patrolled by a handful of Bahamian police as well as 160 unarmed security guards. But could the impulse to rape and murder have sprung from what Anton's grandmother claims is a childlike mind? Not likely, according to the stern religious woman, who says her grandson never once erupted in violence but had on countless occasions lost control of his emotions and broken into tears. "He's just a boy," she says. "He panics if a dog gets hurt."
Nonetheless Anton was charged with both murders in late September, nearly a month after he'd been picked up on the beach and held for three days on vagrancy charges. Prior to Anton's arrest for murder, the British press had a field day with the killings, splashing stories about a serial killer on the loose on Paradise Island on the front pages of every major newspaper in Great Britain. Early on, at a press conference, the Bahamas' Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham stated that such brutal acts could not possibly have been committed by a Bahamian. He was expressing a sentiment echoed by many of his countrymen who, accustomed to news of armed robbery and rape, had never before heard of a Bahamian serial killer.
Ingraham pointed his finger at Philippe DesRosiers, a 23-year-old French-Canadian construction worker working round the clock in the massive gravel pit of Atlantis. When she disappeared, Lori Fogleman had been sharing a room with DesRosiers at the old Holiday Inn, which now served as living quarters for foreign construction crews. Police, who had linked the two killings because of the proximity of the bodies and the similar conditions in which they were found, ruled out DesRosiers as a suspect when it was discovered that he had returned to Canada a few days before Joanne Clarke disappeared. Other workers staying at the Holiday Inn were also questioned, as was the sanitation worker who'd found Fogleman's purse -- minus her credit card, passport, and driver's license -- in a trash bin near Cabbage Beach. None was deemed a viable suspect, and, though the killings barely registered in the American press (the Miami Herald published a small blurb of wire copy), the sense of urgency surrounding the investigation could scarcely have been greater. A serial killer on the loose only months before the opening of the new Atlantis, the Bahamas' most ambitious development project in decades, could prove disastrous. The police needed to arrest someone, and fast.
While local law enforcement frantically searched for a suspect, Anton, who had been released from police custody August 24, went back to mowing lawns and stocking shelves at the neighborhood supermarket. The McIntosh family forgot about the brief disruption in their lives and focused on more pressing concerns: keeping the gunshots and late-night prowlers at bay and feeding four generations, including an infant, the child of Carolyn's 16-year-old daughter. Among Carolyn's children, Anton is not the only one she describes as "slow." There are two others, including a nine-year-old boy who's barely learned to speak and sometimes runs squawking through the house, smiling and laughing and letting his pants fall to his knees.
After Anton returned home, he helped his grandmother clean up the stream of toys, books, and clothing scattered among the frayed furniture and old appliances that filled the dark, humid four-bedroom house. He also continued to give her roughly half the take from the yard work he did in the neighborhood. "Mummy," he would tell his grandmother after depositing his rusty lawn mower in the back yard, "I made $45 today. That's $20 for you and $25 for me."
At night he curled up in front of the TV, lost in cartoons or pro wrestling, sometimes sharing a chuckle with his grandfather, a minister at a nearby Pentecostal church and a messenger with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. By midnight Anton was usually asleep, curled up on the dirty mattress in his spare bunker of a bedroom just past the trash heap spilling down the hallway and into the back yard. He had a sleeping disorder -- he would fall asleep in school, in church, and under trees on the beach -- and drifted quickly into dreamland.
In the morning his grandmother often struggled to rouse him from what seemed an impenetrable slumber. He had to be at work at 9:30 to stock shelves at CostRite, a job that helped him steer clear of the young drug dealers and gangbangers who prowled the neighborhoods. On the way to work, he'd pass piles of garbage, overgrown lots, and buildings splattered with graffiti announcing gangs like the Gun Dogs, Border Hawks, or Nike Crew and expressing morbid messages like, "Why all the hate?" and "Kill or be killed." Although Anton had never been drawn into gang life -- his family says he mostly kept to himself -- many other boys had. "My high school had at least 100 gang members," says one 23-year-old who began selling drugs at the age of 13. "Out of 100 kids in my class, I'd say maybe 20 or 30 graduated," he adds. "Those who passed, they got C's and some low-paying job while I made $375 or $400 a day selling drugs."
Sometimes on weekends, while other kids were skirting the law, Anton hopped the jitney bus to Paradise Island to hang out with Patrick or to sell coconuts he plucked from the tops of palm trees to tourists. Once he even managed to get a job doing landscape work for a wealthy white Bahamian who lived there. "He liked to be around all those people," Carolyn says. "His only problem is that he would go into areas where he was not supposed to be. He doesn't understand that if there's a sign that says 'Club Med, Private' that means he shouldn't go there."
When she was growing up, her mother worked on Paradise Island as a waitress at the Terrace Restaurant at the now-defunct Britannia Beach Hotel. Carolyn would venture to the island and get into all kinds of mischief. "I loved the excitement of the place," she recalls. "I loved to watch dancing, and so I would sneak backstage at the Cabaret Theater and watch the dancers practice. Then I'd wander through the hotels to places I knew I wasn't supposed to be."
Anton didn't give much thought to where he ought to be when he crossed the bridge to Paradise Island on August 22, though perhaps he should have. A few days after the bodies of Joanne Clarke and Lori Fogleman were discovered, the London Evening Standard reported that Sol Kerzner had flown in a team of private detectives to conduct their own investigation and had made an impassioned phone call to Prime Minister Ingraham calling for a speedy resolution to the case. (Butch Kerzner denies that his father did either.) Around that same time, Ingraham offered $200,000 for information that would lead to an arrest and requested assistance from the FBI and Scotland Yard. (In an embarrassing twist, Brian Morris, the lead detective flown in from Scotland Yard, was later held up at gunpoint while sightseeing at Fort Fincastle, a popular attraction outside Nassau.)
Less than a month later, just before 4 a.m. on September 19, a swarm of policemen surrounded a little yellow house in Nassau Village. At first Uris McIntosh thought they were prowlers. Every morning around 4 a.m., she gets out of bed to look in on the children and read the Bible, and in the past she'd seen men in the street toting everything from TVs and VCRs to bathtubs and toilets. "We are living in a place where you can't sleep too hard," she says. That morning, however, she was greeted by an invading army of Bahamian police, who burst through the front door with their guns drawn.
"Anton, what is this about?" she asked as they wrenched her grandson from his bed and tightened handcuffs around his wrists.
"Mummy, I don't know," was his panicked reply. "I don't know."
By Monday morning, when "Arrest in P.I. Murders" appeared on the front page of the Tribune, one of Nassau's two daily newspapers, news of Anton's incarceration had already begun to cycle through the city's infamous rumor mill, often the only source of information in a country where the government is notoriously guarded and freedom-of-information laws are nonexistent. Police reported that they'd sent Anton's blood, taken after he was first arrested on the beach, to a private lab in Baltimore and had discovered that his DNA matched that of the semen found inside Joanne Clarke. Anton, they said, hadn't gone to the beach to collect money from half-brother Patrick as he claimed but to indulge some perverse impulse to return to the scene of the crime. He hadn't been at home the previous afternoon watching TV with his mother as he had told them but had been hiding in the bushes behind Cabbage Beach, stalking a blond-haired teaching assistant with big blue eyes, whom he then raped and strangled and left in a shallow grave under a shroud of dead leaves exactly one month after he'd done much the same thing to Lori Fogleman, a second-grade teacher from Richmond, Virginia.
Fogleman had arrived on Paradise Island on July 18 in response to an invitation made earlier in the summer by Philippe DesRosiers. On the day she disappeared, she phoned her mother in Richmond. "Mom, this place is kind of depressing," Fogleman's mother remembers her daughter saying. "It's full of construction workers." She told her mother she intended to rent a car and do some exploring. She picked up some beer and cold cuts at a little grocery store near the bridge before heading out in her rented silver Nissan Stanza (later discovered abandoned in an alleyway far from Anton's neighborhood). That night at the Jungle Bar, the last watering hole before Cabbage Beach, Fogleman downed pina coladas with two other young women and, at about 11 p.m., left the bar with them, according to a bartender. Two days later DesRosiers reported Fogleman missing.
The police found Fogleman's naked body a month later, buried under large gray stones barely 100 feet from the spot where Joanne Clarke lay dead beside a discarded condom wrapper. Clarke, a teaching assistant from Banbury, England, an industrial town north of Oxford, was nine days into her planned three-week vacation when she disappeared. Her best friend, Maggie Connolly, nanny to the ten-year-old son of a Nassau businessman, had invited her to the Bahamas, and Clarke had booked a ticket out of London's Gatwick Airport for August 12. She phoned her mother from the terminal. "She was so excited," Susan Clarke later recalled. "She had gone on a few foreign holidays, but this was her first long haul outside Europe."
Connolly, Clarke, and young Brandon Cole spent the day together on August 21, basking in the sun. By 3 p.m. Brandon had grown restless, so Connolly left the beach to drive him home across the bridge. Clarke was to meet her friend two hours later in the parking lot at the end of the long, lonely path leading from the beach to the golf course. She never showed up. Somewhere along the way, police contend, she came across Anton McIntosh, and he killed her.
"Not my Anton," Uris McIntosh says of the charges leveled against her grandson. "Rape and murder? He wouldn't know what to do with a woman." Friends and neighbors who concur with her assessment gathered outside Magistrate's Court Number 6 when Anton was officially charged on September 21. Inside the courtroom Magistrate Cheryl Albury read the charges.
"Do you understand the charges I have laid before you?" Uris McIntosh recalls her saying.
Anton paused, scrunching up his face. "Not really," he said.
"Not really. Is that a yes or no?"
He rocked back and forth but did not respond. Later, outside the courtroom, Carolyn McIntosh collapsed.
Over the days and weeks that followed Anton's arraignment, the rumors surrounding the murder began to take on lives of their own. Many appeared in the pages of The Punch, a twice-weekly, British-style gossip rag that is widely read by Nassau's poorest residents, who tend to be far more suspicious of official government statements than they are of rumors printed in the paper. Even Anton's grandmother thinks The Punch is accurate most of the time, though it has, she says, managed to get everything wrong about her grandson.
Anton, The Punch reported, was a Jet Ski operator who rented an apartment on the eastern end of New Providence and was related to a member of Parliament. He'd been arrested, one reporter wrote, after the woman who claimed she had rented him the apartment phoned to report a man returning home with deep scratches running down the side of his face. In fact, Anton has never lived in an apartment and has no relative in elected office, and police say they never received any such tip. The Punch later provided readers with detailed accounts of Anton's three cellblock suicide attempts. However, a reporter who gathered the information for the story but didn't write the piece, says there was only one attempt. Anton's grandmother claims there was none, and the police would not comment. And then there were the unpublished rumors, like the one explaining that young Anton had first been inspired to experiment with murder by a horror movie and discovered he enjoyed it.
Like so many young men in Nassau, Anton does love violent movies, not to mention brutal video games. Both figure prominently in the alibis that his mother says she never had a chance to give police, who did not question Anton's family following his arrest. According to Carolyn McIntosh, Anton wasn't on Paradise Island when Joanne Clarke vanished from the beach Friday afternoon, August 21. While Clarke's best friend, Maggie Connolly, scoured the beach looking for her friend, Anton was at home watching TV with his mother. That evening, while Connolly passed around a photo of Clarke, Anton was at the Jedi Club, the video arcade at the big, pink, American-style mall in Marathon playing his favorite games, Street Fighter EX2 and King of Fighters '98. And late that night, as Connolly began to fear the worst, Anton and his mother were at the local multiplex, watching Wesley Snipes zap bloodthirsty vampires in Blade.
And the month before, when Lori Fogleman vanished? "We weren't even on New Providence," says Carolyn. On July 10 they had traveled by mail boat to Andros, a large, sparsely populated island south of New Providence, where they played volleyball and swam and watched the boats go by in the annual regatta. Uris McIntosh says that on July 26, five days after Fogleman was last heard from, she had retrieved Anton and his mother from the dock at Potter's Cay, just outside Nassau. Two months later Anton was charged with murdering both Fogleman and Clarke.
After his arrest Anton's family reached out to a number of pricey criminal attorneys, hoping one might volunteer services free of charge. Michael Kemp, a lawyer well known for representing drug dealers and armed robbers, turned down the case. "I don't need that kind of notoriety," he explains. "These murders are a real embarrassment for the Bahamas. I can't defend anyone who kills women in that way." Jenny Thompson, another lawyer, says she'd be glad to consider representing Anton, if the government offers to pick up the tab when it appoints a lawyer sometime after the preliminary hearing in the case, scheduled for November 23.
Whoever is chosen to represent Anton, it is unlikely he or she will be able to mount much of a defense. The alibis are flimsy -- there are no ticket stubs to corroborate the trip to Andros, and no eyewitness has come forward to place Anton in his mother's company on the afternoon of August 21 -- and then there's the government's magic bullet, DNA.
Although Bahamian law prohibits the press from publishing the details of a pending criminal case, news of the government's DNA evidence was widely circulated immediately following Anton's arrest. People who believed he was innocent found themselves having second thoughts. "It just doesn't seem like he could have done these things," one neighbor was overheard saying. "But DNA don't lie."
In the court of public opinion, Anton McIntosh has already been found guilty. Without a good lawyer, he will in all likelihood hang. Death by a hangman's noose is still the penalty for murder in the former British colony, which recently stepped up its execution schedule in response to a ruling from the Privy Council, the court of the British Commonwealth. In 1993 the court declared that inmates spending more than five years on death row were being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and should have their sentences commuted to life. (Amnesty International estimates there are 40 prisoners on death row in the Bahamas.) On October 15, after a two-and-one-half-year hiatus, two men were hanged, plucked from the same prison wing where Anton has spent the last two months confined to a dank, urine-scented cell where, his grandmother says, he has only an old mattress and a plastic bucket.
Uris McIntosh says the police started treating Anton better after he agreed to sign a piece of paper, some sort of confession. Questioned about the statement, police were cagey and vague. "It will all come out in court," was all they would say. Anton told his grandmother police officers had beat him, taking turns tightening their grip around his throat in much the same way they claimed he'd choked the life from Joanne Clarke and Lori Fogleman. Every Wednesday his grandmother visits, bringing enough food for him to share with the other inmates. Mostly, though, she just prays. "I trust God," she says. "I know the truth will stand, and God will deliver him from where he is."
Among the trees along the dirt path leading to Cabbage Beach, at the very spot where Lori Fogleman died, there dangles a delicate memorial, a vibrant clump of red and white silk flowers wrapped around a blue ribbon. Beyond the flowers a tree's branches hang low, and on the ground, amid large stones once used as burial slabs, there are dead leaves, pine needles, and snail shells.
Further down the path, the overgrowth gives way to a wide tract of rocks, roots, and tree stumps, a once forested clump that now stretches toward the water like a crater left by a blast of napalm. In September, shortly after the bodies were discovered, Sun International acquired all of the land abutting Cabbage Beach and flattened the dense thicket that once gave the place a wild and rugged feel. The company has big plans for the land. It intends to close down the airport and build upscale houses on a refurbished golf course, in the long run doing more to close off Cabbage Beach to locals than any serial killer ever could.