Convicted wife killer appeals excessive sentence

Kevin Verwayne, who in 2014 was sentenced to 78 years behind bars for the murder of his spouse Farida Ramdeen, whom he drowned, is appealing what he contends to be an excessive sentence.

After a jury found Verwayne guilty of drowning Ramdeen in a trench at Houston, East Bank Demerara in 2011, High Court judge Navindra Singh imposed the 78-year sentence on him.

In his notice of appeal before the Guyana Court of appeal, however, the convict is arguing that not only was the sentence excessive, but also that it was not based in law or reason.

Verwayne is also challenging what he says was the failure of the prosecution to produce certain pertinent documents surrounding another person possibly being the perpetrator of the crime.

According to him, though those documents were in the possession of police, they went missing as numerous requests for them to be produced were ignored.

The appellant is of the view that the missing records would have substantiated a theory of reasonable doubt in his case for the jury to consider.

He further states in his notice of appeal that the failure to produce those records, coupled with a lack of credible testimony as to what became of them, given their exculpatory nature to his defence, was prejudicial and unfair.

According to him, the absence of clear instructions by the trial judge to the jury explaining the consequences of the missing documentary evidence was further prejudicial to his case. 

Verwayne’s appeal is scheduled to come up for hearing on December 20th at 9am before acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory.

He is being represented by attorney Melvin Duke.

The state, meanwhile, is being represented by Prosecutor Stacy Goodings.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Singh had started at a base of 60 years to which he added five years for the cruelty of the crime, 10 years because it was premeditated and an additional six years for domestic violence.

Three years were, however, subtracted for time he had by that time already spent in prison awaiting trial.

In her address before the sentence was imposed, then State Counsel Judith Gildharie-Mursalin had asked Justice Singh to consider that the deceased was just 20 years old and that her killing was an unjustified act.

“For him to take a taxi and bring her to that spot and kill her is unjustifiable,” she had told the court, saying that such violence against women was becoming prevalent in society.

Verwayne murdered Ramdeen at Houston sometime between March 3rd and March 6th, 2011.

They had both left their West Coast Demerara home on March 4th to visit an aunt at Albouystown but Verwayne decided to change his plans and caught a car bound for Houston instead.

The court had been told that at Houston he ordered Ramdeen to accompany him to a dam. Her body was discovered in a nearby trench afterward.

Verwayne had returned home and told relatives what he had done.

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