Ex-soldier to face manslaughter trial over death of friend

Allister Woolford, a former member of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), who was charged with killing his friend, Devon Howell while they were allegedly playing with a gun late last year was yesterday committed to stand trial in the High Court.

The decision was made by Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 3 after she ruled that a prima facie case had been made out against Woolford on the charge of manslaughter.

Stabroek News had previously reported that on November 21, 2014, Howell, 20, formerly of 87 Da Silva Street, Kitty and four other young men were in a house on D’Andrade Street where they were taking turns in “feeling the gun”. It was during this gun play that the gun went off and Howell was shot in his neck. He was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where he eventually succumbed almost three weeks after the incident. His upper spinal cord was reportedly damaged as a result of the shot and he never regained consciousness.

Devon Howell
Devon Howell

On November 26, last year Woolford was charged with the attempted murder of Howell and was subsequently remanded to prison. After Howell died at the hospital, the charge of attempted murder was withdrawn against him and he faced a new charge of manslaughter. The charge read that on December 8, 2014 at Lot 100 Republic and D’Andrade streets, Kitty, Woolford unlawfully killed Howell. He was placed on $400,000 bail and 17 witnesses were heard at the preliminary inquiry into the charge.

Yesterday, during the final hearing of the matter, when asked if he would like to say anything after he was told that a prima facie case had been made out against him, Woolford stood from the prisoner’s dock and said, “I had no intention shooting Devon. I didn’t know the firearm had any rounds in it. It was an accident.”

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