Lakeraj Fredericks was yesterday afternoon found guilty of murdering his brother-in-law Clifton Bonus, whom he shot in the head during an argument on a farm in Linden back in 2011.
His sentencing has, however, been deferred to next Monday when his attorney Madan Kissoon is expected to be present.
Justice Navindra Singh, who presided over the trial, explained to Fredericks that Kissoon had contacted the court, asking to be excused as an emergency had arisen.
As a result, the judge said he was deferring the sentence to facilitate any mitigating factors, counsel may wish to present for the court to consider, before his client is sentenced.
After about three hours of deliberations, the 12-member mixed jury returned its unanimous verdict, convicting a visibly shocked and distressed Fredericks for the capital offence.
When the verdict was announced, he bent and shook his head in disbelief.
This was Fredericks’ second and final retrial for the murder. Last year, his case ended in a hung jury.
According to a caution statement which was admitted in evidence, Fredericks told the police that after an argument on a farm where he planted marijuana, a person whose name he gave as “Ronald,” handed him a gun to shoot Bonus, and he did, but he did not die.
The statement detailed further, that Fredericks then handed the gun back to “Ronald,” who in turn shot Bonus to
the head, killing him. “Ronald” and the convict then dug a 2 ½ feet shallow grave aback the old airstrip at Linden and buried bonus.
Fredericks had denied giving the police that statement, citing that he only affixed his signature to the document, because he was threatened by police who told him that he would be hanged in prison.
During the trial, Prosecutor Siand Dhurjon had argued that Fredericks’ mother, Taramattie, in an attempt to mislead the court, was recanting the story she had initially told police, which implicated her son in the murder.
Dhurjon was successful in his application to have the woman deemed a hostile witness.
Though accepting that it was her signature on a statement presented to the court by the prosecution, Taramattie had vehemently denied ever telling police that her son had called and told her that his brother-in-law had been shot.
The woman had told the court that days before her son-in-law was found dead, he had left her Nottinghamshire, Linden home, where he resided with his wife, her daughter.
When he failed to return after some time had passed, she said, she reported him missing and because of a phone call she subsequently received, she went back to the police station.
According to this witness, someone whom she did not know, had called briefly on her cell phone from an unknown number, and told her something.
The woman had told Prosecutor Dhurjon that she gave police a statement which she signed, but denied it said that it was Lakeraj who had called even when confronted with the statement and read the section in which she reportedly told police just that.
Taramattie had said that while she could not read and write well, she could identify her signature.
When asked if the officer who wrote her statement had read it back to her, Taramattie had told the court that she could not recall. She admitted loving her son, but insisted she was not lying to protect him.
Justice Singh had reminded Fredericks that she was under oath, and could be jailed for as much as seven years, if found guilty of lying to the court.
However, she had remained adamant about what she had not said to the police.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the accused professed his innocence in unsworn testimony from the dock, emphasisng that he only signed the statement saying he had shot Bonus, because of threats from the police.
Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh had testified that Bonus died of haemorrhage due to gunshot wounds to the head.
The charge against Fredericks, was that sometime between June 1 and June 8, 2011 he murdered Bonus.
The trial was heard at the High Court in Georgetown.