Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Cop pleads guilty to killing 9-y-o

Published:Thursday | May 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/ Senior Gleaner Writer

A police constable on Tuesday pleaded guilty to manslaughter for fatally shooting a nine-year-old girl while he was chasing a suspect in the inner-city community of Majesty Gardens nearly 15 years ago.

Walter Spike, 54, entered the plea after a jury was empanelled to commence his murder trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

His attorney, Peter Champagnie, said Spike took the decision to plead guilty even though he was advised that he had a "reasonable prospect of success at trial".

Champagnie said the constable gave him written instructions indicating that "because of his religious beliefs now held, he could not, in all good conscience, contest the case".

He is to be sentenced on June 8.

 

MASS PROTESTS

 

Nine-year-old Renee Lyons died after she was struck by a bullet Spike fired at a suspect who he was chasing in Majesty Gardens on July 23, 2003. The shooting triggered mass protests by residents.

Before he was arrested and charged, Spike fled the island to the United States, where he attempted to seek asylum on the grounds that the killing had left him fearful that his life was in danger.

He was, however, deported to Jamaica in 2011 after failing to convince the American authorities.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com