Appeal Court upholds 20-year sentence for wife killer

Haydock Baxter

The Guyana Court of Appeal yesterday afternoon affirmed a 20-year sentence imposed upon Haydock Baxter for the fatal stabbing of his wife outside the Georgetown Prison.

The unrepresented Baxter, who had been hoping for a reduction, argued that his sentence for the 2006 crime was severe.

State prosecutor Mercedes Glasford contended, however, that not only was the sentence not harsh or severe, but that trial judge Dawn Gregory could not be regarded as having been wrong in principle when she imposed the sentence.

She said that records would have substantiated that from the 30-year base which the judge commenced the sentence, standard guidelines were followed by which deductions were then made for both mitigating and aggravating circumstances as was for remission and Baxter’s early guilty plea.

Though initially charged with murder, Baxter had copped to the lesser count of manslaughter, admitting on 3rd June, 2014 to unlawfully killing Carol Baxter.

In her submissions before acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud and High Court judge Brassington Reynolds, Glasford said that the trial judge had also considered in passing sentence, that the deceased had suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, while noting that he had antecedents.

In the appellate court’s ruling, Chancellor Cummings-Edwards told Baxter that after considering the circumstances of the case and the relevant legal authorities, the court did not find that the sentence was manifestly excessive.

She said that the records did indeed substantiate that the trial judge in using her discretion considered all the facts and circumstances of the case before imposing the sentence she did.

Chancellor Cummings-Edwards said that the judge, though commencing the sentence at 30 years, nonetheless made several deductions, which were accounted for, before finally arriving at 20 years.

Against that background, the Chancellor said the sentence was justified and resultantly dismissed the appeal.

She told Baxter that with the remaining years he has to serve, good behaviour can be a basis for early freedom.

Baxter is said to have attacked his wife outside of the Georgetown Prison, stabbing her several times after she refused to go with him to sign divorce papers on October 20th, 2006.

In an interview with Stabroek News before her passing, Carol had said that she had gone to the prison to visit her son and was standing outside of the building when she was approached by Baxter.

According to what she had said, he had approached her for a divorce and she told him she would go with him to sign the papers but only after she saw her son and gave him food.

Carol had said, however, that the man got angry and pulled a knife from under his clothes. She stated that when she saw the knife she ran but he pursued her, stabbing the back of her neck and her shoulders.

She had said bystanders immediately ran to her rescue and stopped him.

The woman was later rushed to the hospital in a prison van, but would die four days later in the Georgetown Public Hospital from the injuries she sustained.

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