Man gets 33 years for killing South Rd hotelier

Bryan Leitch

Bryan Leitch was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 33 years in jail for the unlawful killing of hotel owner Joseph Jagdeo, whose bound and gagged body was found under a bed in one of the rooms of his hotel.

Leitch, 24, was convicted by a jury on April 17, but his sentencing had been deferred to facilitate a probation report which was presented yesterday.

The court heard from the report that the convict who did not have the benefit of adequate socialization, grew up without his father, and though his mother tried to instill discipline, he often misbehaved and would run away from home.

According to the Probation and Social Services Officer who read the report, the young man during his teens, had spent some time at the New Opportunity Corps after being found guilty of larceny.

Joseph Jagdeo

Referencing Leitch’s attitude towards the killing, the officer said that while the convict has expressed sorrow at the passing of the deceased, he continues to deny any involvement in the crime.

The probation officer, however, pointed out that a life has been lost and that the court needed to impose whatever sentences it sees fit, to send a strong message to deter potential offenders.

Meanwhile, in mitigation, defence attorney Lawrence Harris begged the court to consider what he described as his client’s “harsh upbringing.”

Begging for mercy on behalf of his client, the lawyer said that the absence of a father in a boy’s life can result in a myriad of social problems.

Leitch did not himself address the court.

Justice Sandil Kissoon commenced sentence at a base of 30 years, subtracting five years for what he said was time spent on remand.

From the remaining 25 years, he added three years for the previous conviction.

To that total of 28 years, the judge then added an additional five years for what he said was the cruelty of the offence, noting the manner in which Jagdeo met his demise—that being asphyxiation noting that he was also bound and gagged.

In addition to the sentence, Justice Kissoon ordered that the convict be exposed to any prison programme which will aid his reintegration to society.

Jagdeo was discovered dead at his South Central Hotel, located at Lot 218 South Road, Georgetown, on November 14th, 2013.

At the close of the prosecution’s case, Leitch, after being called upon to lead a defence, professed his innocence, telling the court that he knew nothing about the murder.

In unsworn testimony from the prisoner’s dock, he declared that he knew nothing about the murder and had not killed anyone.

In his testimony during the trial, Detective Sergeant Keith Conway had testified that Leitch admitted to killing the hotel owner and had claimed that it was unintentional and that he was sorry for it.

The witness had said Leitch related that as a result he held him down, stuffed and tied his mouth with a pillowcase, tied his hands together, and pushed him under the bed.

Conway said the accused then related leaving the room key on the bed, after which he took the dead man’s cellular phone before leaving.

According to the witness, the accused declared, “Me ain’t guh fuh kill he… I sorry fuh wah happen.”

The state’s case was presented by Prosecutors Mandel Moore and Lisa Cave.

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