(Jamaica Observer) Siblings Jamelia and Javone Leslie, who had pleaded guilty to the gruesome murder of a woman and her two young children in Mavis Bank, St Andrew, last July, have been sentenced to a total of 88 years in prison.
According to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the siblings were sentenced on May 31 to 36 years for the murder of Kasheif Jackson; 21 years for the murder of Jackson’s two-year-old child, Aviere Williams; 21 years for the murder of seven-day-old Aranza Williams; and 10 years for arson.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
At the sentencing hearing, Justice Lorna Shelly Williams remarked that this was one of the worst cases that she has seen, the ODPP said in a news release.
Giving the background of the case, the ODPP said that on July 18, 2018 about 10:15 am, Jackson and her two children were found dead inside their home covered with evidence of burning and soot. There was no sign of forced entry.
“The post-mortem examination revealed that the deceased received several stab wounds to the face, chest, abdomen, arms, and neck. However, the cause of death was stab wounds inflicted to the neck and smoke inhalation. The cause of the death for the deceased’s two children was determined to be smoke inhalation,” the State prosecutor said.
At the time of the murders Jamelia Leslie was a 27-year-old quality control inspector and mother to a four-year-old child. Jackson was a 29-year-old mother of four. The two children who died and the now convicted woman’s child shared the same father, Arnel Williams.
Both Jamelia Leslie and Jackson were in an intimate relationship with Williams, a 42-year-old farmer, up to the time of the incident.
Williams, in his statement, admitted he knew about threats from Leslie to Jackson and jealousy. He also stated that Leslie was financially supporting him and the children he shared with Jackson.
The police, acting on intelligence, conducted an operation in the Guava Ridge, Mavis Bank community in St Andrew where the siblings were picked up at their home. During a search of Javone Leslie’s room, the police found a lime green T-shirt with what appeared to be blood stains and two knives.
“When first taxed with the allegations, the accused Jamelia Leslie just shook her head from left to right on all allegations. Her brother, when cautioned for murder, declared that he could prove his innocence to a level at court,” the ODPP reported.
“During separate question and answer sessions for Jamelia and Javone Leslie in the presence of a justice of the peace and attorney-at-law, respectively, and on caution, the pair both confessed that they had committed the crimes,” the State prosecutor said.
Jamelia Leslie, in her caution statement, stated that she and the deceased were texting back and forth. The texts became unbearable in November 2015 and she decided to kill herself but the father of her child, Williams stopped her. Then, Jackson got pregnant again with her second child for Williams. Jamelia Leslie became extremely emotional during that time. However, the ODPP said that psychiatric evaluation presented at sentencing showed that neither of the accused siblings was suffering from any mental illness.
On the night of the incident, she and her brother walked from Guava Ridge to Tower Hill and, using a key, opened the door to the house occupied by Jackson and her two children.
Jamelia Leslie admitted to stabbing the deceased twice with a silver and board kitchen knife, while her brother held the deceased and inflicted the wounds to the neck.
She stated that she moved the deceased’s children to safety “out of the wrestling”. “She attempted to start a fire on the stove but there was no gas. Her brother used a lighter from the house to light the mattress. They both left the scene,” the ODPP stated.
Javone Leslie stated that his sister had asked him to follow her, telling him that she had received threats from Jackson. He stated that Jackson fought but he held her while his sister inflicted multiple stab wounds. “His sister then set the bed ablaze and he saw his sister take up the babies one by one. He left the scene hurriedly due to fear. In his Q&A, he asserted that he did not stab the deceased but that it was his sister.”
They both maintained in their caution statements that they thought no harm would come to the children.
The siblings were represented by Michael Hayles and Earl Hamilton, respectively.