Murder accused Klaus Daniels was yesterday sentenced to 17 years imprisonment by Justice Winston Patterson after he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
Daniels killed 18-year-old Stacy Ann Thomas on March 14, 2008, at Cowan and Duke streets, Kingston in what he alleged was an act of self defence, though the young woman sustained 35 injuries about the body.
In narrating the facts of the case, State Prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin told the court that the accused and Thomas had shared a relationship.
She pointed out that at the time of the incident Thomas was living with her grandmother at Lot 447 East Ruimveldt, Back Circle. On the day in question, she said, at around 7.30 am, Daniels went to Thomas’s home where they had a conversation and as a result, the girl got dressed and informed her grandmother that she was leaving with the then 22-year-old man.
The court was told that Daniels and Thomas went to Daniels’s brother’s downstairs apartment at Cowan and Duke streets, Kingston. Around 9 am, an occupant of the apartment above heard the screaming of a female, but on checking, found nothing.
Shem Munroe, Daniels’s brother, who was the tenant of the downstairs apartment, was then seen exiting a vehicle with a friend and subsequently entered the house. Within seconds, Gildharie-Mursalin said, Munroe emerged from the house crying. This prompted the occupant from upstairs and another relative to go downstairs. When they entered the apartment, they saw a female lying in a pool of blood. The body was that of Thomas and it was noted that neither of the two witnesses saw Daniels at the time of the discovery.
Daniels eventually turned himself in to the police.
In a written statement to the police, Daniels said that he and Thomas had a discussion about her infidelity after which he attempted to make a call to his new girlfriend, Monique. This, he said, prompted Thomas to pick up an ice-pick, and the two of them became involved in a fight.
He alleged that he managed to wrestle the ice-pick from the teen during which he fell into the chair, with Thomas falling on top of him. He said Thomas then said, “Aaah… like if she get bore” and he told her to stop, but she left and went into the kitchen, returning with a knife.
He said that as he attempted to take the knife, the woman was stabbed again. Daniels then alleged that he was about to call his brother to come and assist him when Thomas got up and fell, hitting her head on a chair in the living room, after which blood was seen draining from her body.
He concluded his statement, “Officer, I sorry for what I did.”
The prosecutor pointed out that it was the claim of Daniels that Thomas fell onto him on the chair and “like she get bore” and then he said during the fighting, “she get stab”. What is significant in this case is how many times Thomas would have had to fall to sustain the number of injuries she had, the prosecutor submitted, adding that three days after her death, Dr Nehaul Singh performed an autopsy and his findings were very telling of the range of injuries that were inflicted on Thomas that day.
Dr Singh found that Thomas had 35 wounds, 27 of which were caused by a sharp pointed circular instrument, while the other eight were incised wounds to her neck caused by a sharp pointed instrument. Nine of the circular wounds were to the right side of the top of her head, passing through her skull into her brain.
Dr Singh gave the cause of death as haemorrhage and shock due to multiple puncture and stab wounds.
In his mitigation plea, Daniels’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, described the circumstances as “tragic” and the case as a “crime of passion in which Daniels allowed his emotions to get the better of him.”
In relation to the injuries sustained by Thomas, Hughes said that as numerous as those were, they were more a testament of the intensity of Daniels’s emotions and not necessarily an intention to injure.
He said the post-mortem report cannot speak as to how fast the injuries would have been inflicted but it would have been a relatively short period of time because the “blood rushed into his head.”
Hughes said no amount of sympathy extended to Thomas’s grandmother can be enough for the loss she has suffered, but he urged the judge to be lenient and visit upon Daniels true compassion and a sentence that allows him to re-enter and contribute to society.
“Having listened to the facts, one was shivering in one’s pants. The injuries were of a gruesome nature, particularly the wounds that penetrated the brain. Then having listened to the stirring plea of mitigation, the court is in an unenviable position in balancing both sides so that justice prevails,” Justice Patterson stated.
He added that Daniels had always expressed remorse from the time he was arrested but noted that the greatest gift we have from God is life and indicated that Daniels had taken a life which was not his to take.
“I am going to temper justice with mercy by giving you a sentence that is not inordinately high but not too low, you will have sufficient time to reflect on what you have done.
I sentence you to 17 years imprisonment,” Justice Patterson concluded.
An expressionless Daniels was then led away while his relatives and the aunt of the deceased began crying.