Joshua Payne was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 12 years in prison for the unlawful killing of Kelvin Canes, whom he knifed to death at the Stabroek Market on December 19, 2012.
Payne, was initially indicted for murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter weeks ago, which was accepted by both the court and state.
His sentence was, however, deferred until yesterday, to facilitate the presentation of a probation report, which was requested by his attorney, Keoma Griffith.
Before passing sentence, Justice Brassington Reynolds, who presided over the case, used the life expectancy of 63 years, 7 months to guide his sentencing. It is upon this base that the judge commenced his sentence. Thereafter, he deducted 44 years, representing Payne’s age. From the remaining 20 years, five years were deducted for the time he has been incarcerated awaiting trial.
An additional five years were deducted for his guilty plea, which the judge noted, saved the court considerable time in otherwise having to conduct a trial.
To the remaining 10 years, however, two years were added for the aggravating circumstances of the case.
Prosecutor Tiffini Lyken told the court that on the day in question, the two men were fighting and Payne fatally stabbed Canes.
She said that the altercation stemmed from an old grievance between the two.
The court heard from Payne’s caution statement that he admitted to committing the act because the deceased had previously burst his head.
Noting aggravating factors in the case, Lyken said that at the time Canes was attacked, the accused was not provoked. According to her, Payne knew that he could find the deceased in the Stabroek Market area, as they both worked in that area.
Canes sold there, while Payne was a handyman.
From the report read by Senior Probation Officer, Claudia Munroe, the court heard that Payne, who is a school dropout, chose a “wayward life” on the streets of Georgetown, after leaving his Victoria home at about the tender age of 11.
In an interview with the man’s siblings, Munroe said he was described as violent. She said that one brother related that Payne had choked him once to the point of unconsciousness.
Another, she said, related that the accused was caught committing a robbery and was struck in the head with a crowbar.
Munroe said she was able to confirm that Payne was convicted and imprisoned for robbery with violence, but noted that he had spent most of his adult life in prison. She said family members indicated that they felt safe whenever he was incarcerated as they feared him, because he used drugs and was violent.
“He fits well into street life,” the officer explained.
Munroe said, however, that Payne expressed remorse for the killing.
In mitigation, Griffith, for his part, asked the court to consider that his client had accepted responsibility for his actions at the first given opportunity.
He begged the court, too, not to view the deceased as just an innocent victim and his client as someone who had committed a senseless crime. According to counsel, Canes had previously attacked his client, who had made several reports to the police, albeit to no avail.
He asked the court to also consider the remorse expressed by his client, as well as his life circumstances, which could have impacted “how he has turned out.”
Listing the aggravating factors, however, Lyken impressed upon the court to consider that a sharp and deadly weapon had been used upon the unarmed deceased and that the attack was unprovoked.
She highlighted, too, his violent temperament as revealed by the probation report.
Justice Reynolds described the loss of life as “senseless.” He told Payne that his life was one of “delinquency,” owing largely to the choices he made, while noting that he chose the streets over school.
The judge noted that while the killing may not have been premeditated, the attack was unprovoked, which seemed to have been caused because of the ill-will Payne had towards Canes over the previous grievance.
In his reprimand, the judge told Payne that even if he had gone to the police and they had done nothing about his complaints, and even if the deceased may have been a bully, it was not for him [Payne] to “take the law” into his own hands.
Canes, 41, known as ‘Red,’ died of perforation of the heart and lung, due to stab wound.