Jamaica broadcaster gets 14 years over shooting of pregnant girlfriend

(Jamaica Gleaner) Broadcaster Wayne Whyte and his co-accused, Safari Farr, wept openly in court yesterday as they were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for shooting and injuring media personality Jody-Ann Gray.

Gray was seven months pregnant at the time of the attack.

Justice Courtney Daye, in passing sentence, said the aggravating circumstances in the case far outweighed the mitigating factors.

He commented that it was a shooting that took place against a vulnerable woman in the safety of her home.

Attacked at her gate

Jody-Ann Gray
Jody-Ann Gray

Gray was attacked at her gate just as she arrived home at Cedar Grove, Portmore, St Catherine, on April 4 last year.

The men pleaded guilty to the charges on June 26 and sentencing was put off until yesterday when several persons gave character evidence for them.

“The judge reasoned it well and was not swayed by any publication or any attempt to influence him by way of public opinion. He dealt with it dispassionately and came to that decision,” attorney-at-law Christopher Townsend said in commenting on the sentence.

Townsend and attorneys-at-law Tamika Harris and Kaysian Kennedy represented Whyte.

Whyte 41, and Farr, a 37-year-old Rastafarian, were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for wounding with intent, 10 years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm and five years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of ammunition. The sentences are to run concurrently, so they will each serve 14 years.

However, with good behaviour, they could be released after serving two-thirds of the sentence.

“It is very painful for her that the men got only 14 years,” said a close friend of Gray, who was not in court yesterday.

Gray had been present when Whyte and Farr pleaded guilty, but has since returned overseas where she has been living since the incident.

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn and Crown Counsel Yanique Gardener, in outlining the facts of the case in the Gun Court, said Whyte was the mastermind behind the attack.

Whyte and Gray had been involved in a one-year relationship during which she became pregnant.

Whyte, who is married with two children, told Gray to abort the pregnancy but she refused.

Farr said in a caution statement that Whyte gave him a gun and offered him J$250,000 to kill Gray.

Farr shot Gray in the face and in her right hand and then ran back into a motor car driven by Whyte. Farr said he did not know at the time that Gray was pregnant.

While the police were taking Gray to the hospital, she pointed out the getaway car which was travelling in front of the police vehicle. The police intercepted the car in which Whyte, Farr and another man were travelling. They were taken into custody.

The judge, in handing down the sentence, said he took into account the fact that the men had already served one year in prison.

Gray has given birth to a baby girl.

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