Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Guilty! - cop convicted of killing unarmed teen

Published:Saturday | July 22, 2017 | 7:00 AMLivern Barrett

Angella Hutchinson fought back the tears as she recounted yesterday how she contemplated taking her life and that of her then 10-year-old child after her teenage son was killed at the hands of the security forces in 2007.

Hutchinson shared her anguish moments after former police constable Mark Russell was convicted by a seven-member jury for the shooting death of her son, 18-year-old Ravin Thompson, in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

"I almost committed suicide. I even wanted to kill my smaller child so we could be with Ravin," Hutchinson said, adding that her father "took it very hard" and died one year later.

Russell, who was based at the Hunt's Bay Police Station in St Andrew at the time of the incident, is to be sentenced on July 31.

The jury of five women and two men deliberated for just over four and a half hours before informing presiding judge, Justice David Fraser, that they were split four to three. They were sent back to the jury room to reconsider their positions. Soon after, they returned with a majority five to two verdict.

Prosecutor Jeremy Taylor led evidence during the two-week trial that Russell was part of a police-military team that was transporting an injured Thompson to the Kingston Public Hospital when they stopped on Darling Street.

 

JDF SOLDIERS' TESTIMONIES

 

Three members of the Jamaica Defence Force, who were part of the team, testified that they saw Russell place a police-issued M16 rifle in Thompson's hands then took it back before another constable, identified as Morris Lee, assisted him in placing the teen to lie on the sidewalk.

Moments later, according to the soldiers, the 18-year-old was shot several times by Lee.

The official police report at the time claimed that Thompson was killed in a shoot-out between members of the security forces and gunmen.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Lee, who remains on the run.

Attorney-at-law Michael Jordan, who represented Russell, said he accepted the verdict of the jury, but still believes in his client's innocence.

Hutchinson, however, revealed that it has been a long and emotional wait for justice. "[It has been] very empty, sorrowful, a lot of tears," she said, describing the years since her son's death.

"Justice is finally served after 10 years," she declared.

Hutchinson said she has no hatred towards the former constable. "I have forgiven Mark Russell and I hope he can find it within his heart to seek God and repent," she added.

"I wish if he could come across, so I can love him like a brother in Christ," Hutchinson continued.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com