'I pity you' - Mitchell's mother forgives Causwell after guilty verdict in Oaklands murder trial
Imani Prendergast just 10 years old when she got the news eight years ago that her mother, Nadia Mitchell, was brutally slain at the Oaklands Apartment complex in St Andrew.
Yesterday, the teen sat inside the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston and watched as a seven-member jury convicted businessman Steven Causwell of murdering the only parent she knew.
Afterwards, she could not contain the tears.
“I’m somewhat sad and happy at the same time. Even though he is guilty, I can’t get my mom back,” Prendergast told The Gleaner through the tears.
Asked if Causwell’s conviction provided some measure of closure, Prendergast was emphatic. “No. She was my only parent; my only everything.”
The businessman has acknowledged that he and Mitchell had an argument inside her apartment but claimed that she stormed out after he told her he wanted to end their eight-year relationship.
His lead attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, in her closing argument, pointed out that there was no evidence of how the fight started or whether her client was acting in self-defence.
“There is no evidence that Miss Mitchell’s death was caused by any injuries inflicted by Mr Causwell,” she added.
However, it took the panel of four women and three men just over two hours to return with the six-to-one majority verdict.
Causwell showed no emotion as he stood in the dock, removed his jacket, belt, and several items from his pocket and turned to a police constable with both arms outstretched.
He was handcuffed and taken into custody and will be sentenced on September 30.
Mitchell’s body was found onthe ground inside the gated apartment complex in July 2008 with 27 injuries, 19 of which prosecutors said were inflicted before she died.
Prosecutors Paula Llewellyn and Yanique Gardener-Brown painted the 40-year-old businessman as a scorned, obsessive, and controlling lover, describing his relationship with Mitchell as a case of “fatal attraction”.
Among other things, they pointed to phone records which showed Causwell calling his former flame 76 times in a 24-hour period one week before her death.
“This is a case of fatal attraction, a fatal attraction that ended in the death of Nadia Mitchell,” Llewellyn said in her closing argument to the jury on Monday.
Mitchell’s mother, Perdie Newman, agreed, recounting that Causwell treated her daughter like his personal possession, “one that could not walk away from him”.
“He is an arrogant young man and he thinks my daughter was a possession. Steven could have had his life. All he had to do was walk away,” she told The Gleaner.
“In all honesty, I pity Mr Causwell, and at this point, I can say that I forgive Mr Causwell. Not because he should be forgiven, but because I need peace,” she continued.
She was full of praise for the prosecutors, saying that despite the eight-year wait, justice had been served.
After the verdict, Llewellyn called the situation a tragedy for both families.
She told Newman: “When you pray, pray for the other family because it is a difficult time for them as well.”