THE EDITOR, Sir:
It boggles the mind when after a cold-blooded murder and conviction, as reported ('Portmore higgler gets life in prison', January 14, 2013), the convict is eligible for parole after only 28 years. Never mind that he has been in prison since 2009 because he was deemed very dangerous to society.
Justice Straw was overly lenient in her sentencing. The justice seemed to have been swayed, more at the behest of the defence, towards consideration for the murderer's daughter and family, than to strike a proper balance on behalf of society's need for punishment, and deterrent for this offence.
The justice's own words in describing the murder was reported verbatim as a "heinous, cruel and wicked act". Yet, the justice chose only 28 years' parole eligibility. Incredible!
The report attributed the justice as saying: "... There was no evidence that he and the victim, Howard Thompson, were involved in any dispute or were part of any gang ... ." This alone ought to have excluded any parole eligibility less than 50 years, because the victim was apparently an innocent man merely standing at his gate, talking with a fellow citizen.
The fact that he lived in a rough community is no excuse for his action. He could have taken other actions than to murder in order to live in that community, such as move out or at least report to the police the acts of coercion, as implied by his lawyer, to join in criminality.
It is risible and must have, for strange reasons, had a profound effect on the justice to hear that he was "the provider for his daughter" - yet he was in prison since 2009. Hence, the justice capitulated to the path of defying society's need for punishment and deterrent for such "heinous, cruel and wicked act" with a slap on the wrist of only 28 years' parole eligibility. Wrong!
It appears that the victim was an alien, landing in Portmore by some accident because the report made no mention of his having any family or children who will now be without a provider.
So, is it open season on single men without dependents? When they are victims, is Justice Straw implying that there is greater consideration for the murderer's dependents than society's values?