With his trial for the murder of 75-year-old remigrant Joyce Lewis set to commence yesterday morning, Kevon Alfred in an unexpected turn of events pleaded to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Alfred, who had denied any involvement in the woman’s death, admitted yesterday to unlawfully killing the elderly woman during a robbery at her Lot 3630 Christiani Street, North Ruimveldt home between March 25th and March 26th, 2014. However, in his address to the court, Alfred nevertheless sought to lay the blame for the killing at the feet of a purported acquaintance.
Justice Navindra Singh sentenced Alfred to 23 years behind bars, while noting that he found no expression of remorse from him for what he had done.
Alfred’s story is that he was a mere onlooker, who unknowingly transported an acquaintance to the woman’s residence.
According to Alfred, on March 25th, he had gone to run some errands when he ran into a colleague with whom he once worked in Barbados.
Alfred said that he had been driving a friend’s car at the time he saw the man, whose name he provided to the court. He went on to state that the man enquired what he would be doing the following morning, as he had to travel to Bartica early, and wanted to be transported.
Alfred said he told the man that he would transport him. The next morning, around 4.15 am, he told the court that the man showed up at his sister’s house and after some reluctance he went out to him about five minutes later.
He said the man asked to be dropped in South as he needed to collect some things from his girlfriend.
Alfred said he followed the man’s directions to South, where he dropped the man in front of a house.
According to Alfred, after waiting from some 10 minutes and not seeing the man return, he ventured into the yard and began calling for him.
He said he then went around to the back, where he peeped through a window and saw the man running and beating the woman.
Alfred told the court that he then saw a shadow. According to him, he went back into his vehicle and in a state of shock and confusion drove to his sister’s house and told her what had happened.
Alfred said he was very sorry about what had happened. “I was threatened by this guy days after, that he gon’ kill me family,” he told the judge. “I was scared Sir,” he added.
The 26-year-old said he did not make a police report. He, however, added that while in prison, he saw the man there as well and had told prison officials but no one ever looked into what he related.
In a plea of mitigation, defence attorney George Thomas begged the court for the minimum sentence, while noting that his client had no previous convictions. He also said he was the father of two minor children.
Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs, however, refuted counsel’s claims of Alfred having no convictions, while noting that he had been previously convicted for unlawful possession of a firearm.
Alfred, a labourer of Crane, West Coast Demerara, began serving a 48-month prison sentence in early 2015, after Magistrate Judy Latchman found him guilty of illegal possession of a firearm.
Noting additional aggravating circumstances, Gibbs asked the court to consider the manner in which the elderly woman, who lived alone, met her demise. She noted that the woman was bound at the ankles with a rope, her wrist was tied and she was strangled. She died of asphyxiation.
Gibbs advanced, too, that the woman had been in the comfort of her home, was defenceless and did not deserve what was done to her.
The prosecutor said that though Alfred has tried to portray himself as a mere onlooker, a witness had said that Alfred called him from a number, asking whether he wanted to purchase a television.
Investigations subsequently revealed that the phone and number from which that call was placed belonged to the deceased, the prosecutor said.
Justice Singh subsequently informed Alfred that he would be spending the next 23 years in prison. The judge said that the convict showed no remorse for his actions.
The court did, however, note that it took into consideration his guilty plea, which saved considerable time in otherwise having to conduct a trial.
The state’s case was presented by Gibbs, in association with Prosecutors Narissa Leander and Tiffini Lyken.
The case was heard at the High Court in Georgetown.
Lewis’ body was discovered at her home by the police and her sister.
Sources close to the investigation had said that she was found sprawled on a bed with her underwear pulled to her ankles.
There were also dark marks around her neck.
The intruder was believed to have gained entrance through a window at the back of the two-storey house. The window was broken and the grill barring entry into the house was clipped.