Justice Jo-Ann Barlow yesterday sentenced a man to 14 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his mother-in-law in 2005.
Kenneth Griffith had been indicted for the murder of his mother-in-law Hazel Lawrence-Chester, which occurred on June 21, 2005, at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara. He pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and his plea was accepted.
The convict had reportedly overheard plans made by his reputed wife Lorna Simpson to end their relationship and had become incensed. Griffith had attacked Simpson, stabbing her as she tried to escape. At this time, her brother David Chester saw what was taking place and tried to restrain the man. However, Griffith turned the knife on him, causing him to sustain several injuries.
Seeing her son injured, Lawrence-Chester ran to his rescue but she too was attacked by Griffith who delivered a fatal stab to her shoulder region. The knife reportedly pierced her body and punctured her lungs causing her to die.
However, Griffith’s rampage did not end there as he threatened to set the house on fire, but was prevented from doing so by an injured Chester who sustained additional injuries while stopping him.
As regards the injuries sustained by Simpson and her brother at the hands of Griffith, he was also indicted on two counts of attempted murder and felonious wounding. However, after pleading guilty to manslaughter, Griffith also pleaded guilty to the two counts of felonious wounding while the attempted murder charges were subsequently withdrawn.
In light of this, Justice Barlow started his sentence on the manslaughter charge at 24 years and deducted 9 years for good behaviour in prison, time served and for his plea.
Griffith was also sentenced to 14 years in prison for the felonious wounding committed against David Chester and 9 years on the same count regarding Simpson.
These sentences are to run concurrently.
After the rampage, Griffith had been on the run for almost 9 years until he was apprehended and subsequently charged with the murder of Lawrence-Chester in 2014; he was committed to stand trial at the High Court the following year.
The case was presented by State Prosecutor Siand Dhurjon in association with Shawnette Austin while Griffith was represented by attorney Chris Ram.