Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Murdered in a jail cell, relatives still distraught

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry
Father Hopeton Reid in a state of grief as he stares at a pin bearing a picture of his son.
Romario Reid

Western Bureau:

Sorrow and grief are normal emotions when a loved one dies, especially under controversial circumstances at the hands of criminals.

Since December 2014, the family of Romario Reid of Bethel Town, Westmoreland, who was brutally murdered in a jail cell at the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station, also in Westmoreland, has been rocked by tragedy.

The 20-year-old electrician, whose relatives felt he had a bright future, was in custody as a suspect in a chopping incident in Bethel Town. The victim of that incident had also died.

Since Reid was killed, life has not been the same for his family, who are still in mourning, while questioning the decision to transfer him from the Bethel Town police lock-up to Savanna-la-Mar, where he was killed while in the care of the State.

"It hurts even as I talk right now," said Kerisia Reid, Romario's sister, who described him as a good and friendly person. "I miss him. Every day I still cry."

According to Kerisia, who fainted twice when she got the news of her brother's death, she had to be supported by friends and other loved ones when she visited the funeral home to view his body.

The family is still upset that, for reasons unknown, Romario was transferred from the Bethel Town lock-up to Savanna-la-Mar, where he was slashed in his face twice in incidents before he was killed. They had repeatedly tried to get him transferred back to Bethel Town, but to no avail.

"Dem have him there for months, and when I heard that two prisoners died, I didn't hear the name or anything, but I started to cry," said the still grieving sister.

Older brother Glenroy Ricketts, who taught Romario the electrician trade, has still not come to grips with his death.

"All now mi nuh come back from it. Mi have a picture of him in my wallet, and every time I open it and remember him," said Ricketts, who is very unhappy with the way the police handled the killing. "Dem kill him and the police did nothing."


...'I begged them to give Romario bail'


While Kerisia and Glenroy are now able to hold back the tears when they reminisce about their brother's death, his father, Hopeton Reid, who was present for The Gleaner's interview, broke down in tears several times as he tried to explain the impact of his youngest son's death on him.

"Injustice! ... I begged them to give Romario bail or transfer him back to Bethel Town because we don't know why them carry him to Sav in the first place," said the weeping father as he looked at a photograph of his son. "Dem keep putting off him court date. It was January (of 2015) was the new date weh wi hope him would a get bail, and him died before him could go."

At the time of Romario's death, his father was still mourning the passing of the young man's mother, who had died (from natural causes) a year earlier.