Bartician Ryan Jones, also known as Rayon Jones, was yesterday sentenced to 28 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Timehri mechanic Puranand Baljit, who was stabbed to death during a robbery at his Madewini home in 2016.
The 22-year-old Jones appeared before Justice Sandil Kissoon yesterday at the High Court in Georgetown, where he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He had initially been indicted for murdering Baljit, called ‘Andrew,’ in the course/furtherance of a burglary on June 9th, 2016.
Baljit was 25-years-old at the time of his death.
Prosecutor Mandel Moore told the court that on the night of the encounter, Jones entered the deceased’s house through his bedroom window, which was left open, and stole his laptop and phone. However, Baljit awakened and spotted Jones, who proceeded to stab him 10 times about the body.
Jones then fled the scene, but was arrested two days later. It was reported that he led the police to an abandoned house, where they recovered the murder weapon and the clothing he wore during the commission of the robbery. Baljit’s cellphone was found in his possession.
Among the mitigating factors presented by Jones’ attorney, Maxwell McKay, were that Jones was only 20-years-old at the time he committed the crime and had taken the first opportunity given to plead guilty.
The defendant, offering his own words to the court, alluded to having lived a troubled life.
“My whole life I was running and I don’t know what I was running from,” Jones told the judge. “Now I know. I’m running from feeling how I’m feeling now. I feel like I have no life,” he added, while stating that he was sorry for how things turned out and wanted a chance to return to society and “make things right.”
Justice Kissoon, in his ruling, noted that he faced a challenge with finding balance with regards to the sentence, as the age of the defendant had to be taken into consideration. He further noted that Jones could be sentenced to life without parole but expressed the view that any system that incarcerates without hope for rehabilitation cannot be effective.
Against this background, he started sentencing with a minimum of 25 years for manslaughter and then deducted one-third of the sentence due to Jones’ early guilty plea. Two years and one month were then subtracted for the time Jones spent in prison (although he had been sentenced for escaping custody while incarcerated at Lusignan).
The judge noted that the defendant indicated that he was of a troubled mind, and made reference to his deposition, where he alluded to same.
However, considering the impact on society and the deceased, and in the interest of justice, the judge laboured on the point that Baljit died in his home while sleeping in his bed. Ten years were added for the commission of the offence, taking the sentence up to 24 years, five months.
He further noted that after the deceased awakened and called out to his father to render assistance, Jones inflicted 10 stab wounds. Another three years and seven months were added for the brutality of the offence, bringing the final sentence to a total of 28 years. The judge ruled that Jones spend the 28 years in prison without the possibility of being considered for parole.