Rawle Samuels, 29, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the brutal slaying of four-year-old Jamal Nedd, whom he had knifed to death at Buck Hill, Linden, in 2013, was yesterday morning handed a life sentence.
Imposing the sentence on a weeping Samuels was Justice Nareshwar Harnanan, who said the convict is not to be eligible for parole until after serving 30 full calendar years behind bars.
In justifying his decision, Justice Harnanan asserted that the court could not lose sight of the fact that violence was used against a child, as a result of which his life was snuffed out. For that, he said, Samuels had to be dealt with “condignly.”
Initially indicted for the murder of the child, Samuels had denied the capital charge two weeks ago, but admitted guilt on the lesser count of manslaughter at the High Court in Georgetown. His plea was accepted by both the state and court.
The charge, to which Samuels admitted, stated that on February 6, 2013, at Lot 19 Buck Hill Wismar, Linden, he unlawfully killed Nedd.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to yesterday for the presentation of a probation report and sentencing.
The probation report, which was read to the court, detailed Samuels having anger management issues and being unable to maintain stable relationships with one partner at a time. The probation officer noted that the events which precipitated the child’s death were largely the result of Samuels’ promiscuity.
At the time of the killing, Samuels, who shared a common-law union with the mother of his two children, was also in a relationship with the dead child’s mother.
It was the state’s case that on the day in question, Samuels, armed with a knife, was pursuing Jamal’s aunt, after an altercation he had with her.
As the woman was fleeing him, the toddler, who had just arrived home from school and saw what was transpiring, repeatedly encouraged her to, “run aunty.”
In the prosecution’s facts, which Samuels did not deny, it was at this point that the man turned his weapon on Jamal, who was stabbed multiple times about his body.
The convict had by this time picked up the young boy and thrown him back into his aunt’s yard, where he repeatedly plunged a knife, with a blade 17cm long and a width of 4cm, into his body, including into his back, where he left it stuck.
The court had been told that by the time the child was rushed to the Mackenzie Hospital Com-plex, he was gasping for breath from the knife left in him, which was protruding from his chest.
In her report, the probation officer said that Samuels accepted total responsibility for his actions and expressed remorse, stating that he did not know what he was doing at the time.
The probation officer, however, firmly noted that a strong message needed to be sent to society, that violence cannot be condoned in any form or fashion.
She said that the young man had been described by relatives and some persons in the community as quiet, respectful and hardworking, as well as someone who would walk away from altercations. She said that according to these persons, Samuels was not easily angered.
The court heard, however, that some neighbours labelled the man abusive to the mother of his children. The report referenced a charge filed by the woman against Samuels, who is alleged to have physically assaulted her.
According to the probation report, Jamal’s mother, Neisha Naranjan, confirmed that she shared a relationship with Samuels, while he was still with the mother of his children.
The mother of the deceased child said that before the killing, she had spoken to her mother about ending the relationship with Samuels, who had burnt her with an iron, after she refused to press his clothes.
According to Naranjan in the report, Samuels threatened to harm himself if she left him, saying that he “could not live without her.” The probation officer said the woman revealed to her that she still lives in fear of Samuels since the incident.
The woman has since had another child.
Meanwhile, a teary-eyed Samuels told Naranjan, who was present at the hearing, that he was sorry for what had happened and begged her forgiveness. He sought same from his family, describing himself as a “disappointment” and a “failure,” to both families.
He noted that because of his actions, he has caused people to live in fear of him. With tears steadily trickling down his face, Samuels said he knows he “cannot bring back what’s lost, and saying sorry may not be enough.”
“If I had a chance to turn back the hands of time, none of this would have happened, Sir,” the convict told Justice Harnanan.
Samuels, who said he grew up without a father, begged the judge for lenience so that his would not grow without theirs, while also acknowledging that it was his actions that was responsible for their separation.
The convict said that his past four years in prison have afforded him time to think about what he has done, and what he has to do. For the latter, however, Samuels opined that it would not be possible without the court giving him a chance. “I beg you for mercy,” he stressed.
Before imposing his sentence, Justice Harnanan said he had considered both the mitigating and aggravating circumstances of the case.
The court noted that Samuels had no antecedents and had pleaded guilty at the first given opportunity, saving the court considerable time, in otherwise having to conduct a trial.
Listing the aggravating factors, however, the judge noted the callous manner in which the child’s life was brutally snatched from him.
The judge pointed out that the defenceless four-year-old, about three feet tall, posed no threat to or in no way provoked Samuels into doing what he did.
Referencing the autopsy report, Justice Harnanan, noted that Jamal sustained five incised wounds, which ultimately caused his death.
There was a gaping incised wound to his right leg, one to the middle of his inner left thigh, one to the left and right sides of his back and the other to his left chest.
The autopsy, performed by Dr. Nehaul Singh, revealed that the stab to the right side of Jamal’s back went through his muscles and entered his left chest cavity, from which it was left sticking out of his body. As the autopsy report was being read, both families were moved to tears. The child’s mother and maternal grandmother had to be consoled.
Owing to the serious and heinous nature of the crime committed, the judge announced to Samuels, who cried uncontrollably, that his sentence would be life in prison.
The judge started at a base of 45 years to be spent behind bars before Samuels would be eligible for parole but deducted four years for the time he has been awaiting trial, six years for his guilty plea, and five years for good prison behaviour revealed by the probation report. This brought the total to 30 years to be served before parole.
The judge told the convict, who had said that he assists as a baker in the kitchen at the prison, to continue being well-behaved.
Samuels, who appeared shocked at the decision, wept bitterly as he was being escorted from the courtroom by lawmen.
The state was represented by Prosecutor Shawnette Austin, in association with Siand Dhurjon and Lisa Cave.