One of the two men accused of raping and murdering nine-year-old Sade Stoby was yesterday acquitted of the charge, while his co-accused was found guilty.
Jevon Wharton was found not guilty by the jury, while his co-accused, Charles Cush, was found guilty of the 2007 murder.
Wharton and Cush were facing a retrial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow at the High Court, in Georgetown, two years after a jury was unable to arrive at a verdict at their first trial.
They were alleged to have murdered Stoby on November 2, 2007 and left her semi-nude body to decompose in a heavily vegetated area in Barnwell North, Mocha Arcadia. Her body was discovered two days after her mother reported her missing.
Following almost three weeks of listening to evidence at the High Court, Justice Barlow summed up the case for the benefit of the jurors, who were subsequently sent to the deliberation room. After spending close to three hours deliberating, the members of the jury returned to the courtroom with the verdicts.
The same happened in the case of Cush, whose expression remained blank even after the foreman delivered a guilty verdict.
In her address to Wharton, Justice Barlow urged the young man to use his opportunity at freedom to better himself.
On the other hand, she suggested that a probation report on Cush be presented to the court before he is sentenced. As a result, sentencing has been deferred until May 24, when the report is expected to be presented for review.
Several witnesses were called to testify during the retrial, including the mother of the dead child, Sharon Berry, who had struggled to maintain her composure during testimony.
Other witnesses included relatives of Cush and several police witnesses.
On the day of her disappearance, Sade had reportedly left her school after it was dismissed but never arrived home. Two days later, her body was found a short distance away from her home in a drain at Sixth Field, Barnwell, Mocha. Her body was bloated. There was bleeding in her head and chest while thick mud was found in her trachea and her stomach. There was also blunt trauma to her head.
The state’s case was led by prosecutors Siand Dhurjon and Shawnette Austin, while Wharton and Cush were represented by attorneys Maxwell McKay and Madan Kissoon, respectively.